Department of Energy (DOE)
The New York Times recently reported that the solar industry now employs more people than the coal industry. It made the point well by featuring the accompanying graphic, based on Department of Energy data that track employment in various energy sectors:
Industry has been important to the American economy since the earliest days of our country and the strength of the manufacturing sector is a priority for the US government and members of Congress.
Appliance efficiency has increased remarkably over the past several decades. The graph below tracks the energy efficiency of four household appliances over a 35-year period. Three of the products (clothes washers, central air conditioners, and refrigerators), show a 50% or greater reduction in energy use over that period, and the fourth product, gas furnaces, shows a smaller but still significant reduction of 18%.
The final few weeks of 2015 proved busy ones for new national appliance and equipment standards. The Department of Energy (DOE) completed the biggest energy-saving standard in agency history, along with several important but lower-profile standards which will collectively yield large energy and economic savings. Some of them point the way to much larger future savings.
Yesterday, the Department of Energy (DOE) issued two rules affecting ceiling fans: a proposed rule that would establish the first efficiency performance standards for ceiling fans, and a final rule that improves the efficiency of the lights attached to ceiling fans.
Late yesterday, the Department of Energy (DOE) proposed strong new standards that would reduce the energy consumed by beverage vending machines to keep drinks cold. The proposed standards would cut energy use by 25-65% relative to the least-efficient machines available now, and save money for schools, hospitals, hotels, and other businesses and institutions where beverage vending machines are used.
New national furnace standards will save consumers money, but stronger standards could save even more
Yesterday, the US Department of Energy (DOE) issued a proposed rule for furnaces that would provide significant savings for consumers on their home heating bills, and be among the biggest natural-gas saving standards ever completed by the agency. The new standards would reduce gas and propane furnace energy consumption by about 13% relative to basic furnaces sold today.
Proposed new standards for gas fireplaces may make a cozy night in front of the fire a little cheaper. For decorative hearth products, the little blue flame that stands ready to light your gas fireplace at a moment’s notice can account for about 40% of the total annual energy consumed. Standing pilots lights are on 24/7, continuously burning small amounts of gas and sending dollars needlessly up your chimney.
One of the great inventions of our time – the modern refrigerator – will get an efficiency makeover when new national efficiency standards go into effect on September 15, reducing energy use of most refrigerators and freezers by about 20-25%. The new standards take effect 100 years after the first modern refrigerators were mass-produced for general use. Before that time, consumers used iceboxes (literally boxes with ice) to keep their food cold, but food safety was an issue.