California Energy Commission Invites Inputs on Energy Efficiency Standards for Appliances

The Energy Commission, which recently approved the first-in-the-nation's energy efficiency standards for battery chargers, issued an Invitation to Participate to gather market data from manufacturers, consumer rights groups, utility companies, energy efficiency advocates, industry associations, and other interested parties. The market data will help the Commission as it considers establishing improved energy efficiency measures for 15 products in four categories: consumer electronics, lighting, water appliances, and other appliances.

Consider these points:

  a. Increasing plug load consumption.   Even with efficiency standards, plug load (devices that plug into wall outlets) energy use represents the fastest growing segment of residential and commercial utility bills in California. The Energy Information Administration's 2011 Annual Energy Outlook projects plug loads to increase 60 percent from 2010 to 2030, dwarfing traditional categories like lighting and HVAC (ACEEE 2012 Summer Study).  

b. Efficiency standards save consumers money and quickly pay for themselves.   The upfront costs to make existing appliances more efficient are quickly offset by savings in utility bills. For example, an increase of 50 cents to a laptop computer would save $9 in electricity over the life of the device - an 18-to-1 return on the investment. 

c. Standards reduce greenhouse gas emissions.   Effective efficiency standards can help the State to reach its climate change and greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals. Standards enacted for televisions will reduce carbon emissions by 3 million metric tons and the standards approved for battery chargers will eliminate 1 million metric tons of carbon emissions.  

d. Standards are proven strategy to reduce wasted energy.   The Energy Commission's newly-approved standards for battery chargers will save nearly 2,200 gigawatt hours every year - enough electricity to power nearly 350,000 households - or a city roughly the size of Bakersfield. The energy efficiency standards for TVs will save enough electricity to power more than 1 million California households and save ratepayers $912 million annually.  

e. Standards work.   Enacted in 1978, the standards for refrigerators are a good example that adopting smart energy efficiency measures benefits all Californians. Today's modern refrigerator is larger, costs less than models from 30 years ago, has more convenient amenities, yet only consumes 25 percent of the energy of older models.

The products on the Invitation to Participate include: computers; displays; game consoles; set-top cable boxes; fluorescent dimming ballasts; light-emitting diodes; multifaceted reflector lamps; faucets; toilets; urinals; water meters; commercial clothes dryers; air filters; residential pool pumps and motors; and portable electric spas.

The purpose of the Invitation to Participate is to ensure all voices are heard in the Energy Commission's open, transparent, and fair process of developing energy-savings for California consumers and businesses. The Commission will review and consider all information received on products, markets and industries. This invitation precedes any formal appliance rulemaking process.

The Invitation to Participate may be found at http://www.energy.ca.gov/appliances/2013rulemaking/index.html.

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