The U.S. Department of Energy has adopted new energy efficiency standards for appliances that will save more than $19 billion by 2030.
WASHINGTON, DC – The new standards apply to residential central air conditioners and heat pumps, residential clothes washers, residential water heaters, and commercial heating and cooling equipment. Together, the energy savings generated by the new standards can avoid the need for 91 new power plants of 400 MW each. The higher efficiency of central air conditioners alone will represent more than half that saving. Since 1997, the department has also issued energy efficiency standards for residential refrigerators, residential room air conditioners and fluorescent lamp ballasts. Together, the seven standards will save 25 quadrillion Btu (quads) of energy by 2030, enough to light all U.S. households for 20 years and avoid the need to build 124 new 400 MW power plants. They will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 518 million tonne, the equivalent of taking 14.7 million cars off the roads, and will result in net energy savings to the U.S. of $27 billion through the year 2030. “The dramatic energy and pollution savings due to these standards … mark one of the biggest environmental achievements of the Clinton administration,” said outgoing Energy secretary Bill Richardson. “Manufacturers, energy efficiency advocates and staff at the Energy Department worked in an unprecedented consensus process to develop the clothes washer, lamp ballast and refrigerator standards.” “This rule takes a very balanced approach to energy savings, consumer preference and manufacturer impact,” says Joseph McGuire of the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers. “While its energy savings will be great, it also provides adequate time for manufacturers to comply with the energy requirements and to continue to provide consumers with a wide variety of models and product offerings.” “The new efficiency standards announced will save consumers tens of billions of dollars, help avoid future power supply shortages, reduce pollutant emissions and global warming,” adds Howard Gelder of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. The final rules for clothes washers and commercial equipment were published in the Federal Register on January 12; the final rule for water heaters was published on January 17; and the final rule for central air conditioners and heat pumps is on display at the Federal Register. The standards are manufacturing requirements and set minimum allowable energy efficiency requirements for products to be manufactured for sale in the United States.