Today 191 Republican and 184 Democratic members of the House joined to pass the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2014 (HR 2126), sponsored by Representatives David McKinley (R-WV) and Peter Welch (D-VT). The bill includes several provisions to save energy in buildings:
New Refrigeration Efficiency Standards To Take a Bite out of Supermarket and Restaurant Energy Costs
The Department of Energy (DOE) issued a final rule for strong new efficiency standards today that will take a big bite out of the energy consumption of the refrigerators and freezers used in supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants, and commercial kitchens.
In the Winter Olympics that just concluded in Sochi we saw amazing examples of coordination and synchronization in event after event, from bobsled to ice hockey to pairs figure skating. Unfortunately, we seldom see this kind of cooperation on display these days in Congress. Too often it seems like every member is heading in a different direction, and the sled goes nowhere.
U.S. electricity sales peaked in 2007 and have been declining modestly since then. Sales in 2012 were 1.9% lower than 2007 sales, and sales in the first ten months of 2013 are below the same period in 2012. While the economic recession is an obvious explanation for the decline in sales in 2008 and 2009, it is much less clear why sales have continued to decline since then, even as the economy began to recover.
New Tracker Shows How Appliance Standards Are Driving Down Pollution While Saving the Nation Billions
In his State of the Union address last month, President Obama said we need to “act with more urgency” on climate change and also pledged to make this “a year of action.” Fortunately, when it comes to new appliance, equipment, and lighting efficiency standards, the administration has already made very good progress.
Thanks to a new national standard announced today by the U.S. Department of Energy [no-glossary](DOE)[/no-glossary], power adapters--the sometimes bulky and annoying boxes on the power cords of your electronic gadgets--will waste a lot less energy. Just as importantly, DOE deferred new national standards for battery chargers, allowing strong existing standards in California and Oregon to remain in place.
New national standards for metal halide light fixtures announced by the Department of Energy (DOE) today take another important step toward curbing energy waste and will save businesses and towns money on their utility bills. The new standards also mark progress toward meeting President Obama’s ambitious goal of saving 3 billion metric tons of CO2 from new appliance standards, as laid out in the Climate Action Plan. But stronger standards could have saved even more.
Proponents of energy efficiency believe that it not only saves energy and money, it creates jobs. The stronger the evidence that energy efficiency programs and polices create economic opportunity and jobs, the greater the likelihood that federal, state, and local governments will support them. Managers of existing programs use a variety of methods to monitor and evaluate their job creation impacts in order to justify and extend the investment.
Once again, some members of the House are trying to turn back a train that has already left the station. They have inserted a light bulb rider in the 2014 omnibus spending bill which would prohibit the Department of Energy (DOE) from enforcing the light bulb standards enacted in 2007 and signed into law by President Bush.
As 2013 draws to a close, it's useful to reflect back on the past year and look forward to the coming one. Despite political and economic headwinds, the states and federal and local governments continued to make progress on energy efficiency policies in 2013. Among the states, Mississippi and Louisiana decided to begin utility programs, and Connecticut and Maine passed legislation to advance efficiency initiatives.