Issue 15

July 2, 2014

DOE Makes it Six for Six
On June 25, Energy Secretary Moniz announced new efficiency standards for furnace fans, bringing the total number of new efficiency standards this year to six in six months. Consumers are expected to net about $340 to $500 over the life of a furnace fan on a product that most consumers never even knew was costing them money in the first place. Furnace fans usually come as part of a furnace and circulate heated and cooled air throughout a home. This home energy hog consumes about 1000 kilowatt hours a year or about twice as much as a typical new refrigerator. The new standards, which go into effect in 2019, will cut furnace fan energy use by about 40%. Read the blog post.
White House Progress Report Shows 
$60 Billion in Savings for New Standards

On the one-year anniversary of President Obama's Climate Action Plan, the White House released a progress report. While they didn't give out grades, we'd say appliance standards got an A+ for the stunning impact they have on both CO2 reduction and consumer savings. Here's what the White House had to say about energy efficiency standards: 
"Since June 25, 2013, the Department of Energy has issued 9 proposed energy conservation standards for appliances and equipment and finalized 8 energy conservation standards. In total, these final rules are expected to reduce carbon pollution by 340 million metric tons through 2030, equivalent to taking nearly 72 million cars off the road for a year, and save consumers more than $60 billion dollars on their energy bills. When combined with final rules already issued under this Administration, the savings from these rules would surpass 70 percent of the President's goal for projected emissions reductions from energy conservation standards. Altogether, the standards will help cut consumers' electricity bills by hundreds of billions of dollars."
We'd like to note that the 2 billion plus tons in CO2 emissions reductions achieved to date during this administration are equal to shutting down 33 typical coal-fired power plants. Meeting the president's 3 billion ton CO2 reduction goal would raise the total equivalency to about 50 power plants, or about one out of every 12 in operation today.  
New Standards for Electric Motors and Walk-ins  

On May 9, when President Obama pledged to make 2014 a year of climate change action, he announced new standards for electric motors and walk-in coolers and freezers. These two new standards will save consumers about $26 billion in savings through 2030. In addition, the standards are expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 158 million tons.

Electric motors: About one-half of all electricity used in the industrial sector goes to power motors. The savings from the 3-8% efficiency gains in the new rule for 3-phase electric motors make it one of the biggest energy savers in DOE history. The new standards, which include an expanded scope of coverage, were based on a joint recommendation negotiated by manufacturers and efficiency advocates. 
Walk-in coolers and freezers: These products are not as ubiquitous as motors but the savings still add up. Walk-ins are used by supermarkets and restaurants to temporarily store refrigerated and frozen food. The new standards will reduce the cost to operate walk-ins by 10-38% depending on the size of the unit. Combined with motors. the two products are expected to save $40 billion dollars in energy costs from products purchased over thirty years. 
Working Group to Tackle Regional Enforcement

business-presentation.jpg On June 13, DOE  signaled its intent to form a working group under the Appliance Standards Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ASRAC) to tackle the issue of regional standards enforcement (notice). When DOE set the first regional air-conditioning and furnace standards in 2011, DOE recognized that they would need new enforcement guidelines. Both standards and enforcement were on hold for a couple of years while the furnace portion of the rule was litigated. Now that DOE settled the furnace lawsuit, they are free to move on the enforcement of the regional AC standards. The working group (for which nominations were accepted until June 27, 2014), will be tasked with negotiating and submitting a proposed rule to ASRAC by October 30, 2014. 

In 2011, DOE established three zones for AC standards - one for the north, another for the south and a third for the hot-dry southwest states of Arizona, California, New Mexico and Nevada. Central air conditioners in the south will be required to have a SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) of 14, up from the present value of 13 (the north will remain at 13). Additionally, a minimum EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio) is specified for air conditioners in the hot-dry states. For example, an air conditioner just meeting the SEER 13 standard level in Kansas (northern region) will not meet the more efficient standard level of SEER 14 for Oklahoma (southern region). However, if consumers choose, they can always select the more efficient option regardless of where they live. The working group will need to negotiate a process which ensures that products meeting the standards are installed in the appropriate regions.
You can find out more abou the ASRAC process here

DOE also issued a notice of intent to form an ASRAC working group to negotiate a proposed rule on the energy efficiency of manufactured housing. The deadline for the working group to submit a proposed rule to ASRAC is September 30, 2014. 
What's Up at DOE? DOE seal
The following DOE activities are in addition to those described in the articles above. 

DOE estimates that typical dehumidifiers just meeting the current standards use about 600-800 kWh per year, or about 6% of average household electricity use. DOE's preliminary analysis found that new cost-effective efficiency standards for dehumidifiers could reduce energy use by about 25-45% through improved compressor efficiency and heat exchanger improvements. Comments on the PTSD are due July 21, 2014.

DOE has proposed to change the ambient temperature for testing of portable dehumidifiers from 80oF to 65oF to better represent conditions where dehumidifiers are typically used (i.e. basements). DOE has also proposed a new test procedure to test whole-home dehumidifiers, which are typically installed as part of a home's duct system. Comments on the NOPR are due August 4, 2014.

Light-Emitting Diodes
DOE's proposal addresses testing conditions (ambient temperature/air movement), lamp orientation during testing, efficiency metric, and lamp lifetime, among other issues. Written comments are due to DOE by August 4, 2014. 

Portable Air Conditioners
DOE conducted testing on portable ACs using both current industry test procedures and an alternate calorimeter approach. The calorimeter approach, which is similar to the test procedure for room ACs, accounts for air infiltration and heat transfer to the conditioned space. DOE found that the measured capacity and EER of a sample of portable AC units were between 50 and 110% lower using the calorimeter approach compared to the current industry test procedures.

Walk-in Coolers and Freezers
DOE adopted provisions to allow manufacturers to use Alternative Energy Determination Methods (AEDMs) to certify compliance with energy conservation standards for walk-ins. AEDMs are modeling tools which predict energy efficiency or energy usage and can ease a manufacturer's testing burden by not requiring that every product be tested. The test procedure final rule also allows manufacturers to certify either the complete refrigeration system or its components, which provides flexibility for both manufacturers and customers.


State of the States

The California Energy Commission held a staff workshop on May 6th to provide stakeholders with an opportunity to comment on proposed efficiency standards for faucets, toilets, urinals, air filter labeling, fluorescent dimming ballasts and heat pump water-chilling packages. Commissioner Andrew McAllister led the proceedings which featured comments from industry, utilities, and energy- and water-efficiency proponents. 
ASAP, in commenting on the faucet, toilet, and urinal standards, recommended that CEC adopt the stronger standard levels proposed by the CA investor-owned utilities (IOUs). The IOU-recommended levels are 1.0 gallon per minute (gpm) for faucets, 1.28 maximum gallons per flush (gpf) for dual-flush toilets, and 0.125 gpf for urinals. CEC proposed levels which parallel the WaterSense levels at 1.5 gpm for faucets, an average of 1.28 gpf for dual-flush, and 0.5 gpf for urinals. In an earlier report, the IOUs provided data and analysis demonstrating that the stronger efficiency levels they recommend are technically feasible,cost-effective, and met by products available on the market today. Adopting standards at these cost-effective levels will help California to use its limited water resources as efficiently as possible and provide moderate energy savings as well. 
Historically, California standards have laid the groundwork for strong national standards. It is reasonable to expect that California standards for these water-using products will form the basis for future national standards, actual or de facto. We hope the Energy Commission will use this opportunity to set standards at a level which will provide a much-needed boost to state and national efforts to save water. 
Will Dryer Energy Use Finally Tumble? 

New research by NRDC and its consultant ECOVA show that consumers could save up to $4 billion a year in energy costs if dryers were updated to efficiency levels already in use in Europe, Australia, and Asia. In a recent blog post, Noah Horowitz of NRDC details the savings potential and issues a call to action to improve the efficiency of dryers sold in the U.S. Read the blog post. 

Dryer energy use graph
Fun Facts

WaterSense is an EPA partnership program which offers consumers a simple way to use less water with water-efficient products, new homes, and services. Products and services that have earned the WaterSense label have been certified to be at least 20 percent more efficient without sacrificing performance. 

Since the program's inception in 2006, WaterSense has helped consumers save 757 billion gallons of water and over $14.2 billion in water and energy bills.  
For more info: 

Marianne DiMascio, Appliance Standards Awareness Project


In This Issue
DOE Makes it Six for Six with Furnace Fans
$60 Billion-Year for Standards
New Standards for Electric Motors and Walk-ins
Working Group to Tackle Regional Enforcement
What's Up at DOE?
State of the States
Will Dryer Use Finally Tumble?
Fun Facts: WaterSense
The ASAP Blog
Catch up on our recent blog posts

Furnace fans: 

Room AC:

Electric motors and walk-ins:


General service fluorescent and incandescent reflector lamps:
2011 Refrigerator Standards Take Effect Sept.15

refrigerator circa 2012
Standards adopted by DOE in November, 2011 will take effect on September 15, 2014. The new standards will cut energy use by 20-30% for the most common types for refrigerators. See how refrigerator energy use has dropped over time.
North American Builldings Leap Toward Energy Efficiency  .
Fun Facts

WaterSense labeled products (such as toilets, urinals, and faucets) have helped consumers save how much water since 2006? 

See answers below