Issue 19

May 12, 2016 

In This Issue

Appliance standards by the numbers
Best Energy Policy

The lighting (r)evolution marches on
null In March, the Department of Energy (DOE) proposed new lighting efficiency standards that would accelerate the transition to light-emitting diode (LED) technology, producing tremendous savings over current lighting standards. The standards would apply to the most common type of lighting in our homes (known as general service lamps, or GSLs) and would include incandescent lamps, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), light-emitting diode (LED) lamps, and organic LED (OLED) lamps.

Which one of these is not like the other? 
Work light
  • Rough-service lamps* 
  • Vibration-service lamps
  • Three-way incandescent lamps
  • 2,601-3,300 lumen general service incandescent lamps
  • Shatter-resistant lamps
 *Lamps is the industry term for light bulbs.

Of five types of lamps (above) that are exempt from the federal light bulb standards, sales for one of them exceeded a regulatory limit and triggered DOE action. Guess which one? (answer below) 

EISA, the 2007 legislation that set the light bulb standards, stipulated that DOE must track shipments of the five exempt bulbs between 2010 and 2025. If actual shipments exceed projections by more than 200%, DOE must conduct an accelerated efficiency standards rulemaking. This proviso, agreed to by manufacturers and efficiency advocates in negotiations preceding passage of the 2007 law, is meant to prevent a loophole whereby specialty bulbs that are exempt from efficiency standards become inefficient, cheap replacements for light bulbs covered by standards. 

Answer: In an April 2016 Notice of Data Availability, DOE reported that 2015 shipments for vibration service lamps (they protect against vibration or rough use) reached 272.5% of the projected estimate (7,071,000 actual vs. 2,594,000 estimate). In response, DOE must initiate a rulemaking and set efficiency standards by December 31, 2016. For the four other exempt lamps, 2015 shipments reached 135.5% of projections for rough-service lamps, 67.2% for 3-way lamps, 11.8% for high lumen lamps and 41.1% for shatter-resistant lamps. 

One piece of very good news: LEDs work very well in applications subject to lots of vibrations.

Note: There are additional types of exempt specialty lamps, but the five listed here are the only GSLs that DOE is required to track.

Proposed standard for portable ACs falls short 
portable AC vents
The US Department of Energy (DOE) proposed what would be the first-ever efficiency standards
for portable air conditioners (ACs). While the new standards would be a significant step forward for portable ACs, higher efficiency levels could more than double the savings.

Preliminary DOE estimates indicate that about one million portable ACs are sold each year. Consumer Reports has referred to portable ACs as "the cooling choice of last resort" and found in their tests that portable ACs "barely got a room below sweltering."

California computers not idling 
The California Energy Commission (CEC) proposed new efficiency standards for computers that would require manufacturers to cut energy use in idle mode - when the computer is on but not in use. This is no idle matter - computers account for between 2.5 and 4.4% of electricity use in the residential sector in California and 10% in the commercial sector. A computer idle mode could use 25 times
more energy than when in sleep mode (50 watts compared to 2 watts). The proposal calls for a 50% reduction in idle energy use for desktops, laptops, and notebooks. 

CEC proposed efficiency standards for computer monitors would reduce the amount of energy used in ''on mode'' by 3 to 5%. About 14% of monitors on the market currently meet the proposed levels. CEC also clarified the definition of  signage displays - the big screens that you might find in airports or at stadiums (at left). Displays less than 17 inches in diameter fall under the television category and must adhere to CEC television standards. Displays greater than 1,400 square inches and displays made up of many smaller displays (with screen size greater than 12 inches diagonal) are not subject to efficiency standards. 

CEC held a public meeting on April 26th and will accept public comments until May 23, 2016. Read more in the March 2016 CEC staff report

Neighbors to the north aligning with US

US Canada flags While Canada doesn't always agree with all things US, they do agree with one very successful energy policy - efficiency standards. Natural Resources Canada recently announced that they will work to align efficiency standards for 20 products with US DOE standards. The products range from washers and dryers to electric motors to light bulbs and represent billions of dollars in savings and millions of tons of carbon dioxide (CO2reductions. 

The move to align the standards was announced in a joint statement on Climate, Energy, and Arctic Leadership signed by Prime Minister Trudeau and President Obama in Washington, DC, in March 2016
Negotiated rulemaking results in agreement on new residential AC efficiency levels

Press release, January 20, 2016

Washington, DC: An agreement reached among industry and environmental stakeholder groups to increase the energy efficiency of central cooling systems passed an important milestone in advance of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) developing a new energy-saving standard that could save consumers $38 billion. 

The Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Federal Advisory Committee (ASRAC) approved an agreement...

Manufacturers and efficiency advocates reach agreement 

First-ever standards for wine chillers
Blog post by Joanna Mauer
January 20, 2016

The Appliance Standards Rulemaking and Federal Advisory Committee (ASRAC) approved an agreement reached by manufacturers and efficiency advocates to set the first-ever national standards for wine chillers and other beverage coolers. The new standards will reduce energy use by 75% relative to the least-efficient products on the market.

The new standards cover beverage coolers including wine chillers and others (collectively "coolers"), as well as a smaller category of products...

DOE seal
DOE Update

DOE actions below are in addition to actions highlighted in articles and blog posts above. 

Circulator pumps and pool pumps
The working group that successfully negotiated standards for commercial and industrial pumps in 2014 recommended that DOE conduct follow-on rulemakings for two additional types of pumps: circulator pumps and dedicated-purpose pool pumps. Circulator pumps are used to circulate water for heating and/or cooling in homes and commercial buildings and in domestic hot water recirculation applications. Dedicated-purpose pool pumps include pool filter pumps, pressure cleaner booster pumps, and waterfall pumps. Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Federal Advisory Committee (ASRAC) has formed working groups to conduct negotiated rulemakings for both circulator pumps and pool pumps. The working group for pool pumps reached consensus on scope, metrics, and test procedures in December and is scheduled to complete negotiations on standard levels by July. Meetings of the circulator pumps working group began earlier this year, and the group has a deadline of September to complete negotiations.

Proposed Rule, April 29, 2016
DOE issued proposed first-ever test procedures and energy conservation standards for industrial and commercial compressors. DOE proposed standards that vary by size and type for certain rotary and reciprocating compressors and notes that they are seriously considering more stringent efficiency levels, with net benefits greater than two times that of the proposed efficiency level. 

Portable air conditioners (ACs)
DOE published a final rule establishing the first DOE test procedures for portable ACs. The new test procedure calculates an efficiency rating based on a weighted average of performance at two outdoor temperatures: 95F and 83F. With portable ACs, much or all of the air flow used to reject heat to the outside is drawn from the room being cooled. This process creates a negative pressure, which results in hot air being drawn in from outside. The new test procedure accounts for this impact as well as the impact of heat that is added to the room due to heat losses through the duct.
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Marianne DiMascio, Appliance Standards Awareness Project

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WaPo op-ed: US made the right call on light bulbs

ASAP excutive director Andrew deLaski op-ed in the Washington Post drew attention to the great success story under way with the transition to long-lived, super efficient LED light bulbs: 

"That long life means you would no more need a dusty box of spare bulbs in the basement than you would need to keep a spare clothes dryer or washing machine on hand." 

Read our recent blog posts

Battery chargers

Commercial water heaters: 

Commercial boilers: 

Power supplies:

Wine chillers: 

Recap and preview:

Greater than the sum of its parts
New report shows that systems efficiency is the key to meaningful, cost-effective energy savings in buildings. Shift is heralded as a game-changer for industry.

Tom Eckman talks about the NW Power Plan
Tom Eckman of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council (and an ASAP steering committee member), talks about the beginnings of the NW power plan. This is the first in a series of videos which will tap into Tom's broad knowledge and experience before he retires later this spring.  
Common ground on energy policy

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) joined forces in an op-ed on energy policy:

Pot is bad for your...ENERGY BILL
With the indoor cultivation of weed clocking in at an estimated 1% of annual US electricity use, an article in Grist suggests that efficiency standards are one way to control the spiraling energy use from the lights, heating and ventilation systems, and dehumidifiers used in this growing industry. 

Up, up, and...down
The Alliance to Save Energy puts EIA data in perspective. Here's one chart showing how EIA adjusted their energy projections downward in just 12 years.

Energy use projections EIA