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Testimony of Steven Nadel, Executive Director, for the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing on the Appliance Standards Improvement Act of 2009


March 19, 2009

Testimony

Authors:

Steven Nadel

Description:

Federal appliance efficiency standards were first adopted in 1987 and were augmented by Congress in 1988, 1992, 2005 and 2007. The program has a long history of bipartisan support. My organization, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), estimates that without these standards and subsequent DOE rulemakings, U.S. 2010 electricity use and peak electric demand would be about 10% higher and U.S. total energy use about 5% higher. Net savings to consumers from standards already adopted will exceed $400 billion by 2030 (2008 $).

The majority of these standards have been set by Congress, based on consensus agreements between manufacturers and energy efficiency advocates. But where there is not consensus agreement, Congress has often delegated decisions to DOE, allowing each side to make their arguments and having DOE make the decision.

The proposed Appliance Standards Improvement Act of 2009 (ASIA) builds on these solid foundations and we support this bill. We thank Senators Bingaman and Murkowski for introducing this bill and moving the discussion forward on how best to improve the appliance standards program.

The heart of ASIA is new efficiency standards on portable lighting fixtures, such as floor and table lamps. The proposed standard was developed by the American Lighting Association and ACEEE and builds largely on a standard adopted by California last year. The standard provides a range of compliance options and will save substantial energy – by 2020 this standard alone will save enough electricity to power 350,000 average American homes.

ASIA also contains several useful reforms to the appliance standards and ENERGY STAR programs.

While ASIA is a solid bill, we believe it can be improved by incorporating:

  • o Several technical amendments to the portable lighting fixture standard as described in my testimony;
  • o Technical amendments to the standards adopted in EISA that are needed to correct drafting errors;
  • o Adding new standards on outdoor lighting fixtures, based on a proposal now being developed by Philips Lighting, ACEEE, and other lighting manufacturers and energy efficiency groups;
  • o Adding new standards on drinking water dispensers (water coolers) and hot food holding cabinets that are based on ENERGY STAR specifications and have been adopted in California, Connecticut, Maryland, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia;
  • o Adding new standards on portable electric spas (hot tubs) adopted in California, Connecticut, and Oregon;

o Adopting several improvements to the appliance standards program proposed by Senator Menendez that:

  • o Direct DOE to consider standards on several types of reflector lamps;
  • o Allow states to help enforce federal standards in federal courts using federal procedures;
  • o Allow DOE to consider multiple standard metrics for products;
  • o Provide states more flexibility to develop performance-based building codes;
  • o Simplify the process for states to obtain waivers from federal preemption while keeping the main decision-criteria in place; and
  • o Direct DOE to undertake a rulemaking to establish regular reporting of data needed to support the standards, ENERGY STAR and related programs.

These provisions would more than quadruple the energy savings resulting from ASIA and would improve program implementation and decision-making going forward. We are open to discussing all of these suggestions with Committee members and their staff, and with manufacturers and other interested parties, so that hopefully consensus can be reached on modified versions of all of these provisions.