The Department of Energy, which has been remiss in meeting deadlines to revise the energy efficiency standards of four commercial appliances — metal halide lamps, commercial refrigeration equipment, walk-in coolers/freezers and electric motors — has agreed to overhaul the standards by next year. This is expected to lead to lower pollution and savings of $3.8 billion by 2035.
New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman led a coalition of 10 states and the city of New York in getting the DOE to commit to a specific timetable for each of the four types of appliances. By the terms of this agreement, the DOE has committed to overhaul the standards for metal halide lamps by January 2014, for commercial refrigeration by February 2014, for walk-in coolers and freezers by April 2014 and for electric motors by May 2014.
This agreement comes after the DOE missed 2012 and 2013 deadlines set by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. Strengthening the standards will result in substantial cuts in air, water and climate change pollution and according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), it will save businesses and consumers across the country an estimated $156 million per month, which will increase to $3.8 billion per year by 2035.
The ACEEE estimates that as a result of updating energy efficiency standards for the four appliances, 2.2 million metric tons of climate change pollution will be eliminated. Stronger standards would cut tens of millions of pounds of pollution annually that contributes to smog, soot and acid rain. It would also reduce climate change pollution by more than 26 million metric tons annually.
New York’s Schneiderman was joined by the Attorneys General of Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, as well as the California Energy Commission and the Corporation Counsel of New York City in the agreement.
In March, the California Energy Commission put out an invitation to gather information from stakeholders in the electronics and appliance industries as it considers establishing improved energy efficiency standards for a raft of products.