Details on Appliance and Equipment Efficiency Standards in the House and Senate Energy Bills

Fact Sheet


Background: National appliance and equipment efficiency standards are a proven energy-saving policy with broad bipartisan support. The first standards were established in 1987 (signed by President Reagan) and subsequent standards enacted by Congress in 1988, 1992, and 2005. Typically, states enact standards on a product, then manufacturers and efficiency supporters work together to negotiate consensus standards that are brought to Congress for adoption. These federal standards preempt new state standards. DOE is instructed to review and revise the standards periodically. ACEEE estimates that standards already enacted will save about 5 quadrillion Btu’s of energy in 2020, which is 4% of projected nationwide energy use in that year. Peak load reductions will be about 144,000 MW, equivalent to 480 power plants of 300 MW each.

Consensus Standards in Both the House and Senate Energy Bills: The Senate-passed bill contains new consensus standards on 6 products —

  • electric motors
  • reflector lamps
  • residential boilers
  • clothes washers
  • dishwashers
  • dehumidifiers

These are based on consensus agreements between efficiency advocates and industry trade associations including NEMA (lighting and motors), AHAM (clothes washers, dishwashers, and dehumidifiers), and GAMA (boilers). The House bill contains these same standards. We encourage the conferees to include these standards in the final bill.

Consensus Standards in Just the House Bill: After the Senate acted, consensus agreements were reached with industry on additional product standards including —

  • metal halide lighting fixtures (commonly used in high-ceiling commercial and industrial applications)
  • walk-in coolers and freezers
  • external power supplies (the little black boxes attached to the power cords of many electronic products)
  • standby mode and off mode power use of currently regulated products

These provisions are based on consensus agreements between efficiency advocates and NEMA (lighting fixtures), ARI(walk-ins), and AHAM and CEA(external power supplies and standby power). We recommend the Senate accept these provisions.