DOE Proposes Stronger Appliance Efficiency Standards

A person checks the energy use of a washing machine, using a smartphone
Stronger energy efficiency standards could save washing machine users about $295 over the life of the appliance, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Johner Images Royalty-Free / Getty Images
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The Department of Energy proposed new efficiency standards for home appliances it says will save users $3.5 billion per year and reduce carbon pollution over the next 30 years by about the annual equivalent of 29 million homes.

The innovation resulting from stronger efficiency standards is projected to save users about $295 over the life of a washing machine and $130 over the life of a new fridge. DOE has increased efficiency standards for refrigerators three times over the last 50 years and a typical refrigerator now uses 75% less electricity.

The appliances covered by the proposal, including refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers and freezers and for top-loading and front-loading residential clothes washers, account for about 8% of U.S. residential electricity use.

As reported by The Washington Post:

The new appliance standards, which could come into effect as early as 2027, are being proposed amid a national furor over possible federal regulation of gas stoves because of their potential health impacts. Conservatives have sought to depict the Biden administration as waging a war on household appliances, but experts in energy efficiency say the standards proposed Friday are long overdue and could produce big savings for consumers.

Under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, the Energy Department is required to conduct regular reviews of appliance efficiency standards. Although the department is not required to tighten the standards, it usually chooses to do so.

For a deeper dive:

The Washington Post, The Hill, Politico Pro

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