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Appliance Standards

Appliance and equipment standards have been one of the most successful policies used by the federal and state governments to save energy. When the federal government or states establish appliance and equipment standards, they are setting the bar for the minimum efficiency of products. Standards require products, such as refrigerators or air conditioners, to meet specific minimum efficiency requirements thereby reducing energy use and consequently saving consumers money while improving the environment. Standards prohibit the production and sales of products less efficient than the minimum requirements, causing manufacturers to focus on how to incorporate energy-efficient technologies into their products at the least cost and hastening the development of innovations that bring improved performance.

In doing so, standards provide all consumers with a minimum level of efficiency performance, making energy-efficient products more affordable and more widely available. Successful implementation at the state-level has often been followed by manufacturers and efficiency supporters negotiating consensus standards that are then recommended to Congress for adoption. Today the federal government often uses the standards set by states as a model for federal appliance standards.

Click a state to view its appliance standards.

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Leading States


California was the first state in the country to adopt appliance and equipment efficiency standards.  The authority to adopt appliance and equipment efficiency standards was bestowed upon the California Energy Commission as stipulated under the Warren-Alquist Act, which was enacted in 1974.  California’s 2006 Appliance Efficiency Regulations became effective on December 30, 2005, replacing all previous versions. The regulations create standards for 21 categories of appliances, including standards for both federally-regulated and non-federally-regulated appliances.


Rhode Island

In 2005, the Energy and Consumer Savings Act established minimum energy efficiency standards for twelve commercial and residential products, nine of which were immediately preempted by the federal Energy Policy Act later that year.  In 2006, S 2844, which included amendments to its 2005 legislation, was signed to create standards for an additional eight products, of which only one was preempted by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.  The Office of Energy Resources is the state agency responsible for the adoption and certification of efficiency standards in Rhode Island.


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