Release—Finally—of Appliance Efficiency Standards Applauded

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By Rebecca Kern

Energy efficiency advocates and industry groups are breathing a sigh of relief after the Trump administration lifted a temporary hold on appliance standards for ceiling fans, pool pumps, air conditioners and refrigeration products.

The Energy Department published the effective and compliance dates for direct final rules establishing stronger efficiency standards for pool pumps (effective: May 18, compliance: July 19, 2021) residential central air conditioners and heat pumps (effective: May 8, compliance: Jan. 21, 2023) and refrigeration products (effective: Feb. 27, compliance: Oct. 28, 2019) in Federal Register notices May 26, and a notice for those dates in a final rule for ceiling fans (effective: Sept. 30, compliance: Jan. 21, 2021) on May 24.

The efficiency standards are projected to save consumers billions of dollars in their electricity bills over 30 years and reduce energy consumption nationwide, the Energy Department has previously reported.

“The Trump administration’s confirmation of these common-sense energy-saving standards is great news for consumers,” Andrew deLaski, executive director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, a group that advocates for stronger appliance energy efficiency standards, told Bloomberg BNA May 25.

“Each new standard will cut the energy wasted by common household products, delivering real energy bill reductions for households,” he said.

Similarly, the Air-Conditioning Heating and Refrigeration Institute, which represents the home appliance manufacturers, is also pleased with advancement of the rules.

“The numbers of rules we’re uncertain about are dwindling, so we’re happy about that,” Francis Dietz, AHRI’s vice president of public affairs, told Bloomberg BNA May 26.

Five Standards Still in Limbo

While these four standards are moving forward, there are still five other appliance efficiency standards that are held up for review by the Energy Department. Standards for air compressors, walk-in coolers and freezers, power supply equipment, portable air conditioners, and commercial boilers were finalized during the Obama administration but never published in the Federal Register due to a 30-day delay that extended into the Trump administration.

The Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Consumer Federation of America sued the Energy Department April 3 over the publication delay for these standards. California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and New York City also filed a lawsuit the same day over the delay. Their complaints also addressed the delay of the ceiling fan rule publication that was later published May 24.

“We’re still waiting for DOE to publish those other five that are on hold. Hopefully, the actions to affirm these four will clear the way for the others to reach completion,” deLaski said.

Bloomberg BNA didn’t receive a response from a request for comment from the Energy Department in time for publication.

The Sierra Club has received funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charitable organization founded by Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg L.P. Bloomberg BNA is an affiliate of Bloomberg L.P.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rebecca Kern in Washington at rKern@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Connolly at PConnolly@bna.com

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