Energy Conservation Standards for Consumer Products

The Environmental Policy Initiative is tracking the environmental regulatory rollbacks of the Trump administration. Click here for the list of rules we are following

Why it Matters

The Department of Energy (DOE) sets energy efficiency standards for many consumer products. This reduces the energy use, cost, and greenhouse gas emissions of appliances sold in the US.

Current Status

Efficiency standards finalized at the end of the Obama Administration have effective dates and are proceeding. Future public hearings and comment periods for efficiency standards should be posted here.

DOE has announced a request for information on a proposal to modify its process for developing appliance standards. The comment period for this request will be open for 90 days after it is published in the Federal Register. A public meeting will be held on January 9, 2018 at 9:30 am, at the DOE Forrestal Building in D.C., room 8E-089. DOE has  also published a request for information on an evaluation of “the potential advantages and disadvantages of additional flexibilities” in the appliance energy efficiency standards program. They expressed particular interest in market-based options. Comments are being taken until February 26, 2018. 

History

In August 2016, DOE issued its semi-annual report to Congress, describing recently published and upcoming efficiency standards. DOE has published a report every six months since the Energy Policy Act of 2005 first required this.

On December 28, 2016 DOE posted final energy efficiency standards for uninterruptible power supplies (battery chargers), walk-in freezers, and commercial boilers.

On January 6, 2017 DOE posted final energy efficiency standards for residential air conditioners and heat pumps.

On January 19, 2017 DOE posted final energy efficiency standards for ceiling fans.

Trump Era

On March 31, 2017 nine states, New York City, and a Pennsylvania regulator petitioned the Second Circuit over the Trump Administration’s failure to finalize the ceiling fan efficiency standards.

On April 3, 2017 New York, California, and nine other states petitioned the Second Circuit over the Trump Administration’s failure to finalize efficiency standards for portable air conditioners, air compressors, walk-in freezers, and commercial boilers. Environmental groups filed a separate action in the Second Circuit.

DOE published a notice on May 24, 2017 that it would finalize ceiling fan standards and set compliance dates.

On May 26, 2017 DOE announced it would finalize the standards and set compliance dates for pool pumps, residential air conditioners, and a few refrigeration products.

DOE did not appear to publish its required semi-annual reports on efficiency standards in February or August of 2017.

On November 28, 2017 DOE issued a request for information and notice of public meeting. Citing Executive Orders 13771 (Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs) and 13777 (Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda), DOE seeks “comments and information from interested parties to assist DOE in identifying potential modifications to its ‘Process Rule’ for the development of appliance standards.” The public meeting will be on January 9, 2018. The comment period for this information request will be open for 90 days after it is published in the Federal Register.

Also on November 28, 2017 DOE issued a request for information on an evaluation of “the potential advantages and disadvantages of additional flexibilities” in the appliance energy efficiency standards program. They expressed particular interest in market-based options. Comments are being taken until February 26, 2018. 

For More Information

For more on the history of these rules see their entry in the Columbia University Sabin Center for Climate Change Law’s database. Also see Sabin’s Climate Deregulation Tracker for additional updates.

 

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