Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sometimes I hate being right...

...but just in case you needed further proof that the new administration would keep the HVACR industry very busy, President Obama eliminated the suspense with his address at the Department of Energy today ordering higher efficiency standards on a wide array of appliances. Shortly after the address, ACEEE released this statement:

February 5, 2009: Today President Obama signed a presidential memorandum requesting that the Department of Energy (DOE) establish higher energy efficiency standards for common household appliances. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) applauds the president’s action, this marking the first time he has endorsed efficiency standards as a top priority for his domestic energy policy. We further endorse President Obama’s directive to meet the legal deadlines for standards, an important break from his predecessors who fell behind on updates for some 22 standards. It now falls upon DOE to ensure that the new standards are strong enough to realize the economic and environmental benefits of appliance efficiency.

Two areas that demand particular focus are home furnaces and lamps. DOE must issue new standards for fluorescent tube light bulbs and reflector light bulbs by June 30. If strong, these standards could save about 60 billion kilowatt hours per year by 2020 -- enough to meet the annual needs of about 5 million households. These standards would in turn save consumers between 30 and 67 billion dollars net over 30 years, according to DOE analysis. Unfortunately, the proposal released by DOE shortly before President Obama took office sacrifices about half of those saving due to insufficient standards. And while not an appliance mentioned directly by President Obama, home furnace efficiency offers another opportunity for tremendous energy savings. Former President Bush’s standard, issued in fall 2007, saves almost no energy since 99% of appliances on the market already comply. States and consumer and environmental groups have sued to force reconsideration, and the president should acknowledge the need to revisit this standard by settling that suit.


About ACEEE: The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing energy efficiency as a means of promoting economic prosperity, energy security, and environmental protection. For information about ACEEE and its programs, publications, and conferences, contact ACEEE, 529 14th Street N.W., Suite 600, Washington, D.C. 20045 or visit

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