From DOE General Counsel Scott Harris'
"...when I arrived at DOE, I was stunned to discover that the Department had never systematically enforced DOE's 35-year-old energy efficiency standards."
DOE Public Meetings
Oct 7 - Full Fuel Cycle Hearing
Oct 13 - Battery Charger and External Power Supply Hearing
Oct 14 - Refrigerators and Freezers Hearing and Webinar
Oct 18 - Electric Motors Hearing
Oct 28 - Test Procedures for Residential Clothes Washers Hearing and Webinar
All meetings held in Forrestal Building
|Efficiency Standards Make List of National Security Measures
President Obama issued his national security strategy and efficiency standards score a mention as part of the strategy to fight the security challenge posed by global climate change See page 47
|Appliance Standards Get a Nod in New Book by ASAP Steering Committee Member David Goldstein|
"Invisible Energy: Strategies to Rescue the Economy and Save the Planet"
what percentage of the energy powering a traditional incandescent light bulb is given off as heat?
Hint: Easy-Bake ovens use these lights to cook their brownies
See answer below
An 'Agreeable' Year for Appliance Standards
Efficiency proponents, trade organizations, and manufacturers made great headway over the past year by signing three separate appliance standards consensus agreements. The agreements were reached with the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) for six major home appliances
; the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) for furnaces, air conditioners, and heat pumps
; and the National Electrical Manufacturing Association (NEMA) for outdoor lighting
. If passed, the energy saving measures could save over 500 trillion BTU annually in 2020 and nearly 1.2 quadrillion BTU annually by 2030, the latter equivalent to all the energy consumed by more than 6 million U.S. households in one year. The water savings from clothes washers and dishwashers alone could save about 5 trillion
gallons of water over 30 years - enough water to meet the current water needs of every customer in the city of Los Angeles for 25 years. The three agreements have been submitted to both Congress and DOE. Only one body (either Congress or DOE) needs to adopt the standards to make them official.
Senators Bingaman, Klobuchar, and Lugar are cosponsoring a bill (S.3925) which would enact the standards contained in the agreements. Supporters are working for passage after the election. Concurrently, DOE is considering many of the products in accordance with their multi-year schedule. To use an example, DOE just published a proposed rule for refrigerators mirroring the standards in the agreement. However, if Congress enacts the consensus recommendations, the standard becomes law and DOE's rulemaking becomes unnecesary.
An End to 35 Years of Inaction:
The Unfolding Enforcement Tale
In the last issue we reported that DOE was finally taking on enforcement. We can further confirm that assertion with two new pieces of evidence. First, on September 13th, DOE announced 27 new penalties against companies selling products in the U.S. without certifying that they comply with energy or water efficiency standards. The 27 companies include manufacturers, importers, and private labelers of appliance, plumbing, and lighting products. Second, on September 16th, DOE proposed to update and strengthen its certification, compliance and enforcement regulations. The September 16th Proposed Rule makes clear DOE's authority to take enforcement action without a 3rd party complaint, clarifies that all certification filings are public information, fills in gaps in coverage, and suggests general revisions to the the certification, compliance and enforcement regulations. These enforcement actions proposed by DOE will ensure that significant savings from standards are realized and will level the playing field for manufacturers.
ASAP and allies applaud these actions and are recommending several additional measures that will further strengthen the enforcement program. While DOE has indicated that it will soon make a determination on verification testing, we believe it is critical that DOE establish the program concurrently with this rulemaking or shortly thereafter. A systematic verification program, conducted by accredited independent labs, will ensure that the energy use submitted by manufacturers is indeed accurate and fair. DOE has also recommended annual recertification, requiring manufacturers to resubmit test data each year. Instead, we recommend manufacturer retesting at regular intervals using accredited laboratories. The frequency of such testing would hinge on factors such as production cycle or change in energy use so as to not unduly burden manufacturers. Finally, we recommend that DOE create a public online database for all product and equipment information, including certification filings and verification data, to increase transparency and public access.
New Labels Bring Information to Light!
Have you tried to buy a light bulb lately? Confused by the conflicting watt comparisons? What used to be 60 watts is now 13? Or is that 23? Which color - warm yellow or bright white?
The new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) lighting labels, due out in mid-2011, will provide consumers with the information they need to compare products and make those purchasing decisions easier. The new labels (below) will provide information on lumens or the brightness of the bulb, estimated annual energy cost, life expectancy, energy used, and the appearance of the light (warm or cool). Labels for CFL bulbs will also contain a mercury content disclosure. We and our allies have requested that FTC establish a wattage equivalent chart to eliminate confusing or misleading claims by manufacturers.
If you're looking at this label thinking where's the fat and carbohydrate percentage, you're on to something. The new labels were modeled on the 'nutrition facts' label. Instead of calculating your fat intake, you'll be able to calculate light and $$$ output hopefully opting for the more efficient models which cost less to operate. We applaud the FTC for the easy-to-read informative labeling.
|Why Care About Test Procedures?|
The geeky term "test procedures" sounds like something best left to engineers. Why should someone who is interested in the energy efficiency of a washing machine, dryer, or furnace care about test procedures? Because without a good method of determining how much energy an appliance uses and how that appliance is actually used by real live people, it's difficult to set a standard that maximizes energy savings or even measures energy savings.
Take water heaters as an example. The current obsolete test procedure assumes that all water heaters - whether tankless, 20 gallon, or 120 gallon - meet the same hot water need of 64 gallons a day. We don't think it's likely that the person using a 20 gallon tank is using 64 gallons of water per day. In addition, the test procedure doesn't differentiate between tank and tankless water heaters. The result is that the tankless water heaters (often more efficient than tank water heaters) seem to get ratings that slightly over-estimate their efficiency relative to field experience. Water heater rating problems are so severe that manufacturers, government, and industry are working together to radically change the rating method.
In the larger view, products are becoming more sophisticated and "smarter". Since manufacturers cannot use any efficiency index other than the federal rating in their advertising, test procedures need to change too. If manufacturers can't advertise the energy-saving benefits, they have little incentive to include them. So, we all have a stake in creating and adopting test procedures that actually save energy and encourage innovation that will save even more energy. The principles are easy, but applying them requires continuing effort and collaboration. Next time you see the words test procedures, don't let your eyes glaze over - read on (start in the next section with TV test procedures).
|Fall and Winter Tidings from DOE If all goes according to schedule, interspersed with the fall and winter holidays this year will be many tidings from DOE. Any day now, expect to see a proposed rule for residential furnaces which we hope will contain the regional standards from the consensus agreement described above. By Halloween, DOE will bring us proposed rules for Clothes Dryers, Central A/C and Heat Pumps, Room A/C, and standby and off mode for microwave ovens. Just in time for a 2011 New Year's Day Fest, DOE is expected to announce proposed standards for Battery Chargers and External Power Supplies and Fluorescent Lamp Ballasts plus a final standard for Refrigerators and Freezers. We expect to see 25% energy savings with the new refrigeration rule. And sometime this fall, possibly by Thanksgiving, DOE will issue Framework documents for Televisions and Electric Motors, and preliminary analyses for Clothes Washers and Metal Halide Lamp Fixtures. Enjoy the busy season!
Keeping up with DOE
Refrigerator and Freezers, TV Test Procedures, Furnace Fans, Commercial Refrigeration, BR Lamps, HID Lamps and External Power Supplies, Test Procedures
Refrigerators and Freezers
Reflecting recommendations in the joint consensus agreement, (see first article) DOE proposed a 25 percent increase in energy efficiency for most new refrigerators starting in 2014. According to the proposed rule, a typical new 20-cubic-foot refrigerator with the freezer on top would use about 390 kilowatt hours (kwh) per year, down from about 900 kwh/year in 1990 and about 1,700 kwh/year in the early 1970's. On a national basis, the new standards would, over 30 years, save 4.5 quads of energy, or roughly enough to meet the total energy needs of one-fifth of all U.S. households for a year. Over the same period, the standards will save consumers about $18.5 billion.
TV Test Procedures
Request for Information and Request for Comments September 3, 2010Much has changed since 1979 when the last TV test procedure was adopted. Questions of how best to measure luminance and which test patterns to use are still important. However, new technologies (such as 3-dimensional TV and internet streaming) pose new questions: How should 3D energy use be measured? How much energy does it take to connect to and display images from the internet? Should computer monitors, increasingly used for viewing TV content, be considered in the same category as televisions? DOE will be looking at these and other questions as they develop a new test procedure. DOE has reviewed existing television test procedures such as the widely accepted IEC Standard 62087-2008 and ENERGY STAR's Version 4.1 and is seeking additional comments. See the 5-page TV Test Procedures document.
Follow this rulemaking to find out how much electricity is needed to effectively circulate air through duct work. The products in the rulemaking are called 'furnace fans' but advocates suggest that they instead be defined as 'air handlers', which would include the cabinet. This change would allow the aerodynamics of the cabinet to be incorporated, which affect air handler performance. The suggested scope would include devices used for both heating and cooling, and it would include the air handlers used in heat pumps - already a 32% share of the market. There is potential for significant improvements in air handler efficiency by switching from commonly-used permanent split capacitor (PSC) motors to brushless permanent magnet motors.
Commercial Refrigeration Equipment
DOE has initiated a rulemaking to consider amending standards for commercial refrigerators and freezers, which are widely used in supermarkets and convenience stores. Currently there are separate product classes for equipment with and without doors. Advocates suggest that these product classes be combined to encourage the use of doors which can significantly reduce energy consumption while also reducing cold air spillage into shopping aisles and improving food safety.
This rulemaking will consider energy conservation standards for certain elliptical reflector (ER), bulged reflector (BR), and small diameter incandescent reflector lamps (IRLs). Due to a loophole, certain lamps were left out of earlier reflector lamp standards, resulting in a jump in market share from 5% to nearly 40%. Advocates suggest that standards be set for the remaining exempt lamps at a level equivalent to that for IRLs that are currently covered. Advocates also suggest that the different types of IRLs be subject to the same standards to avoid creating another loophole. DOE will not issue a preliminary technical document since the previous rulemaking for IRLs covered much of the material. The next document to be published will be a proposed rule.
HID Lamps and External Power Supplies
In separate proceedings, DOE determined that both High Intensity Discharge
(HID) lamps and non-class A External Power Supplies
(EPS) merit energy conservation standards. The determinations trigger rulemaking proceedings to establish test procedures and efficiency standards for both products. Non-class A EPS include the following categories: multi-voltage, high-power (greater than 250 watts), medical and motorized applications and detachable battery pack. The HID category includes mercury vapor, metal halide, and high-pressure sodium lamps.
DOE has recently published proposed rules for test procedures for several products including refrigerators, clothes dryers and central air conditioners.
: Advocates have argued in the past that icemaker energy use should be included in the test procedure to better reflect consumer usage of refrigerators. However, a test procedure to measure icemaker energy use has still not been developed. In the interim, DOE is proposing to include a placeholder value of 84kWh per year in the test procedure and the standards for products with icemakers. As part of our consensus agreement, manufacturers and proponents have agreed to ask DOE to adopt a test measure that actually measures icemaker energy use.
: DOE is proposing to amend the test procedure for clothes dryers to account for the effectiveness of automatic termination controls. This will give manufacturers an incentive to design products that do not overdry clothes. According to DOE test data, this test procedure change could achieve savings of about 50 kWh per year per dryer.
Central Air Conditioners
: As part of our consensus agreement, efficiency proponents and manufacturers agreed that for the hot-dry region (CA, AZ, NM, and NV) two separate efficiency metrics should be used: SEER and EER. The addition of an EER standard will ensure good performance on hot days which is especially important for reducing peak demand.
|What's Up at the State Level?|
|California TV Standards Official!
The California Energy Commission (CEC) announced that TV standards for the state of California were approved by the Office of Administrative Law on September 1, 2010. The standards
set the first ever active mode power limits for TVs and go into effect on January 1, 2011 for Tier I and January 1, 2013 for Tier II. CEC Statement on TVs
Other State News
- HB 5217
, An Act Concerning Energy Efficient Products, was rolled into a larger energy bill which Governor Rell vetoed. The Governor said Bill 493
, An Act Reducing Electricity Costs and Promoting Renewable Energy, "is not in the best interests of the ratepayers or taxpayers of our state". She presumably was not talking about the appliance standards portion of the bill which would have resulted in lower utility bills for consumers.
- (HB 3124
) Legislators failed to act on the bill (An Act Relative to Expanding Energy Efficiency in the Commonwealth) before the end of the legislative session.
- (Assembly Bill 10811 and S 8070
) On July 15, Governor Paterson signed into law a bill which authorizes NYSERDA and the Department of State to set energy efficiency standards for portable light fixtures, bottled water dispensers, hot food holding cabinets, portable electric spas, and residential pool pumps.
- (SB 450 and AB649
) The Senate failed to vote on the the Clean Energy Jobs Act before the end of the legislative session in April. Standby power standards for DVDs, TVs and compact audio equipment were included in comprehensive energy bill.
|Fun Fact - Cooking with Incandescents
Approximately what percentage of the energy powering a traditional incandescent light bulb is given off as heat?
b. 90% correct answer
Look to the next issue of Unplugged for a discussion of the phase-out of inefficient incandescent light bulbs.
Ever wonder why Easy-Bake oven chose to use a traditional 100-watt incandescent light bulb to cook that little pan of brownies??? Hint, it's not just for the oven light. It's because about 90% of the energy used to power the light bulb converts to heat. Only 10% is used to generate light! Unless you are cooking brownies under your living room reading lamp, you are wasting significant amount of energy every time you turn on a light with a traditional incandescent. Compact fluorescent lights (CFL), LEDs, and more efficient incandescents will light your book without baking your brownies.
For more info or to sign up for the newsletter, send an e-mail
Marianne DiMascio, Outreach Director
Appliance Standards Awareness Project