Rising energy bills, a war that reinforces the costs of an economy dependent on globally traded fossil fuels, the climate crisis—each requires aggressive deployment of proven policies that curb energy waste. Appliance efficiency standards fit the bill, and the Biden administration has big ambitions.
Amid the increase in devastating weather events linked to climate change, the New Jersey legislature adopted an appliance efficiency bill yesterday that would reduce annual statewide climate change emissions by 178,000 metric tons per year by 2026, the equivalent emissions of 72,000 cars. The adoption of efficiency standards is a helpful step toward meeting the state’s goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030.
As much of the United States continues to suffer from drought and extreme heat, five states have adopted energy- and water-saving appliance standards since late March, a rapid series of victories for consumers, businesses, and the climate.
Nevada cemented its leadership on appliance energy efficiency standards this month as Governor Steve Sisolak signed Assembly Bill 383 into law. The new law will save state residents and businesses millions of dollars while reducing harmful air pollutants and fighting climate change.
Oregon is set to become the second state this year to adopt energy-saving efficiency standards for a suite of household and commercial products following a successful vote in the state senate today. HB 2062 now heads to the desk of Governor Kate Brown, and she is expected to sign the bill, given that it originated in a 2020 executive order she issued.
With the Biden administration in its second month, we have already seen its interest in strengthening the energy-saving standards that cover dozens of household and commercial products, such as furnaces, refrigerators, and light bulbs. The new administration has staffed up with climate and clean energy leaders and initiated work to undo the previous administration’s slew of harmful rules.
Last Friday, updated federal efficiency standards for residential boilers took effect. The amended standards, which the Department of Energy (DOE) finalized in 2016, will provide savings for many consumers in cold climates. However, higher efficiency levels are possible which could achieve significantly larger energy savings.