Biden Administration Implements Stricter Energy Efficiency Standards for Residential Refrigerators, Promising Savings and Environmental Benefits

The new standards for residential refrigerators, freezers, and refrigerator-freezers are expected to save consumers billions and reduce carbon emissions.

The Biden administration has announced a final rule that imposes stricter energy efficiency standards for residential refrigerators, freezers, and refrigerator-freezers. These new standards, which have not been updated in over a decade, are expected to result in significant savings for consumers and have positive environmental impacts. The rule was adopted based on a recommendation from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) and a coalition of environmental organizations and efficiency advocates.

Energy Savings and Benefits

The Energy Department estimates that the new standards will save consumers $36.4 billion over 30 years of shipments. This represents an 11% drop in energy use compared to current products on the market. The adoption of these standards is expected to bring cumulative emission reductions of nearly 101 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to the annual emissions of 12.7 million homes.

Industry and Environmental Organizations Applaud the Rule

The AHAM, the manufacturers’ association, has expressed its support for the new standards, acknowledging the consideration given by the Department of Energy (DOE) to stakeholders’ recommendations. The AHAM believes that the new requirements provide sufficient time for manufacturers to develop the necessary innovations to meet the standards.

How the Standards Will Be Achieved

Models that meet the new standards are likely to incorporate more efficient compressors and fan motors, as well as improved insulation. Variable-speed compressors, already found in some models, allow for longer operation at lower speeds, reducing the frequency of starting and stopping.

Proposed Efficiency Standard for Commercial Fans and Blowers

In addition to the new refrigerator standards, the DOE has proposed the first-ever federal efficiency standard for commercial fans and blowers. This standard aims to reduce annual energy costs for US businesses by $3.3 billion and follows the lead of efficiency standards already established by the state of California for general fans.

Meeting Legal Settlement Deadlines

The DOE finalized the refrigerator and freezer standards in order to meet the deadline outlined in a legal settlement with environmental groups. The settlement required the DOE to review energy efficiency standards for various appliances and equipment, including residential refrigerators and freezers. The update of these overdue standards is estimated to result in $650 billion in utility bill savings for consumers through 2050 and prevent up to 1.8 billion metric tons of carbon emissions by 2050.

Commitment to Addressing Outdated Standards

The DOE has committed to addressing a backlog of outdated energy efficiency standards and has issued 30 proposed or final standards in 2023. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm emphasized the importance of updating and strengthening energy efficiency standards to promote innovation, provide more consumer options, and create healthier communities. The DOE aims to finalize more energy efficiency standards by the end of next year.

Conclusion: The implementation of stricter energy efficiency standards for residential refrigerators, freezers, and refrigerator-freezers by the Biden administration is a significant step towards reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions. These standards are expected to result in substantial savings for consumers and contribute to a more sustainable future. The DOE’s commitment to addressing outdated standards and promoting innovation in energy efficiency is crucial in creating a greener and more efficient appliance market.

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