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California Marches to Beat of Own Drummer with New Appliance Efficiency Standards

Linda Hardesty

Computer energy manageThe California Energy Commission will establish efficiency standards for 15 product categories including lighting, consumer electronics, and water-using products, resulting in $2 billion in energy bill savings, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

The commission’s next step is to publish draft standards and hold stakeholder workshops on all the products before finalizing the standards.

While more stringent efficiency standards would save energy, they will require manufacturers to comply with more than one set of standards.

A spokeswoman for NRDC said, “In order to be able to legally sell their products in California, manufacturers will have to ensure their products meet the final energy efficiency standards. Since we don’t know yet what they’ll be, it’s unknown how many already meet them. Manufacturers who make products that currently waste more energy than California will allow under the new standards will have to upgrade them to take advantage of the state’s lucrative market. Often manufacturers sell those upgraded products not only in California, but also elsewhere.”

The 15 products are organized into five groups:

  • Group 1, with draft standards in April 2014: faucets, toilets, urinals, air filters, and dimming ballasts.
  • Group 2, draft standards due May 2014: LED lamps and small diameter reflector lamps.
  • Group 3, draft standards due August 2014: pool pump motors and portable electric spas (hot tubs).
  • Group 4, draft standards due November 2014: computers, monitors and displays.
  • Group 5, draft standards due February 2015: network equipment (modems and routers), game consoles, and commercial clothes dryers.

Meanwhile, the federal government recently issued a notice of proposed rulemaking for new efficiency standards for commercial ice makers.

In January, new federal lighting standards took effect to phase out incandescent light bulbs.

Photo: Computer monitor via Shutterstock



2 comments on “California Marches to Beat of Own Drummer with New Appliance Efficiency Standards

  1. With respect to group 1 (which is my area of interest and expertise), the recommendations to the CEC are clearly unjustified and made without talking to efficiency advocates (other than NRDC), manufacturers, or design professionals, and, even worse, without positive in-the-field history. There are some highly questionable recommendations being considered, BUT these should be rejected as without any justification, particularly those related to toilets and urinals. As an independent evaluator of those two product categories, we have the experience at MaP to show that what is proposed will NOT save any water (and, hence, energy), but will the CEC listen? I guess we shall see….

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