Issue 21
May 23, 2017
In This Issue of Unplugged
Groups take legal action over delayed standards

On March 31st, consumer and environmental groups such as Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and a coalition of nine states and New York City filed a lawsuit against the US Department of Energy for delaying the effective date of the ceiling fan standard without providing opportunity for public comment. Mark Cooper of CFA noted that: "This case represents the purest example of needless and illegal delay. The rule is faithful to the statute, was written in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act and saves consumers money." 

The reasons DOE has delayed the effective date are not clear. In addition to saving consumers money, the new standard also has the support of fan manufacturers as conveyed in a letter from the American Lighting Association.

On April 1, a similar group of environmental and consumer organizations and states filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue over five product standards completed by DOE in December but not yet published in the Federal Register. The five products are air compressors, portable air conditioners, commercial packaged boilers, walk-in coolers and freezers, and uninterruptible power supplies.  As with ceiling fans, the reasons for DOE's delay in publishing the final rules remain unclear. Each standard is cost effective for the buyers of the product and each standard enjoys at least some level of manufacturer support. For example, the walk-in cooler standard resulted from a negotiated rulemaking.
For more info on legal challenges, see the press releases from Consumer Federation of America, Earthjustice, and NRDC   
The Niagara Falls of water savings -- efficiency standards

Tourists at Niagara Falls
Imagine standing on a sightseeing boat at the foot of Niagara Falls as millions of gallons of water gush over the American Falls, mesmerized by the massive flow and the power of the churning waters. Imagine staying there for 7 months, 2 weeks, and 1 day as the water pours over the falls day after day after day. Now imagine finding out that all that water is equivalent to the amount of water saved by efficiency standards for basic water-using products over the course of 1 year. Surprised? You bet! 

Continue to blog post.
State of the states

California sign

On April 19, 2017, the California Energy Commission  (CEC) announced the beginning of an appliance efficiency public rulemaking process for eight products. CEC plans to set efficiency standards for five of them -  c ommercial and industrial fans and blowers, s prinkler spray bodies, t ub spout diverters, irrigation controllers, and general service lamps. (CEC is considering an expanded scope for their general service lighting standards due to take effect on January 1, 2018.) CEC plans to create efficiency roadmaps for the remaining three - set-top boxes, low-power mode and power factor, and solar inverters. During the May 11th workshop presentation, CEC noted that a roadmap approach would include negotiations with stakeholders and would result in a white paper instead of standards. The roadmap would establish milestones for product efficiency with the potential to revert to standards if the milestones are not met. 

In other CEC news:
  • New standards take effect on January 1, 2018, for LEDs, small-diameter directional lamps (small lamps you might find in a kitchen ceiling), and general service lamps. More info can be found on CEC's website.
  • CEC made minor modifications and clarifications to the computer and computer monitor regulations due to take effect January 1, 2018. Changes will not affect expected savings from the standards.

Vermont sign
The Vermont House and Senate passed bill H.411, an act relating to Vermont's energy efficiency standards for appliances and equipment.  The bill adopts current federal efficiency standards into Vermont statute so that the standards would be in place should the federal standards be repealed. The bill includes the 2020 federal light bulb standards. The bill goes next to the Governor for signature. 

For more info about state standards opportunities, Contact Marianne DiMascio
Companies fined $1 million for violations of CA efficiency regulations

Fines sign The California Energy Commission (CEC) negotiated settlements with 15 companies in 2016 for violations of energy and water efficiency regulations. Products found to be in violation included wine chillers, spas, kitchen faucets, and robotic vacuum battery chargers. CEC fined companies for incorrectly listing products in the CEC database, failure to mark or label products as required, and failure to meet the efficiency standards. The settlement amounts ranged from $366 to $120,000 and totaled over $800,000. Two additional cases were settled to date in 2017 totaling over $200,000. 

The settlement amounts varied according to the number of violations; number of models; persistence, nature, and seriousness of the violation; and cooperation with the investigation, among other criteria. CEC learned of the violations through product testing, consumers, competitors, and at least in one case, the company itself. For more information, see the CEC enforcement page .    
DOE seal DOE update

New standards for beverage coolers, residential central air conditioners and heat pumps, and swimming pool pumps are now enshrined in the Code of Federal Regulations. In 2015 and 2016, DOE convened working groups, under the umbrella of the Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Advisory Committee, to develop recommended, consensus standards for these products. DOE published the recommended standards as Direct Final Rules, a process which allows for an extended public comment period. After reviewing feedback, DOE took no further action, which means the new standards are now complete. Each of these will provide significant household savings down the road. The manufacturer compliance date for beverage coolers is in 2019; for pool pumps in 2021 and central air conditioners and heat pumps in 2023. 

Work on revised standards which have legal deadlines coming up later this year or next has generally been on hold since the start of the Trump Administration. In order to meet legal deadlines, activity will need to re-start soon. 

For more info on upcoming deadlines for standards, see DOE's semiannual report to Congress published in August 2016. You can also find the DOE schedule on our website.

Standards around the world 

Standards adopted in one country or economy often provide a starting point or template for other countries. Updates this month provide examples. 

Australia NZ flags
Australia/New Zealand
The Energy Efficient Equipment Program plans to update efficiency standards for refrigerators and freezers, potentially aligning with the 2014 US DOE refrigerator standards. They are also looking at the feasibility of setting standards for  industrial fans (Note: DOE sponsored a negotiated rulemaking for industrial fans in 2016, but a final rule has not yet been published.)  

US Canada flags
The Department of Natural Resources announced their intention to update efficiency standards for 11 products categories and to introduce new standards for 6 product categories.  The new residential categories are ceiling fans and tankless water heaters. New commercial categories are pumps, water heaters, and oil and gas boilers. In many cases, Canada is looking to align with US standards, but when justified may adopt stronger levels.

EU flag European Union
The Coolproducts newsletter reports that s even new products will be considered for efficiency measures by 2019 - building automation and control systems, electric kettles, hand dryers, lifts (elevators), solar panels and inverters, refrigerated containers, and high-pressure cleaners. 

India flag India
The Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy (AEEE) will host the  Energy Efficiency Conclave 2017, a first of its kind in India, mirrored after American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) Summer Study. 

To learn more about standards development across the globe, check out CLASP's Global standards and labeling database .
Fun facts
Us map The top three states for average household utility bill savings from appliance standards in 2015 were:

Hawaii - $945
Connecticut - $648
Massachusetts - $620

The top three states for per household electricity savings from appliance standards i n 2015 were:

Florida - 3,315 kilowatt hours (kWh)
Arizona - 3,029 kWh
Mississippi - 2,937 kWh

Find YOUR state here.
For more info: 

Marianne DiMascio, Appliance Standards Awareness Project


The ASAP Blog
Read our recent blog posts:

Water-using products
Commercial refrigerators and freezers
Manufacturers are not just meeting, but beating new efficiency standards
ASAP website now mobile-friendly 

Same great info in a better package! Check out new features on the website. Find blog posts and reports with a click of a button; look for featured items in one place; and take us on the go - the website is mobile-friendly!
ASAP Mobile
Energy-saving states of America
Check out our February report highlighting how every state benefits from standards.  
Ultrasonic technology dries clothes in half the time
Dryer homeowners Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have figured out a way to dry clothes with vibrations, using transducers to shake water out of clothes. The ultrasonic drying technology is five times more efficient than today's dryers and dries clothes in half the time. With the support of DOE's Building Technology Program, Oak Ridge scientists are working with GE Appliances to scale up the technology.
Use of efficient light bulbs rising
Today in Energy  reports that in 2015, 86% of US households used at least one CFL or LED indoors, up from 58% in 2009. Lower adoption rates were found in renter-occupied households (79%) and households with income below $20,000 (75%). Just 29% of US households reported at least one LED installed. For more info on light bulb adoption, see Today in Energy from the US Energy Information Administration.
Advice on Standards
In an opinion piece in The Hill, former DOE Assistant Secretary Dan Reicher offered the following  advice to Energy Secretary Perry:

"Secretary Perry should strongly back one of DOE's most important programs that has enjoyed bipartisan support for decades. The department's Appliance and Equipment Standards Program has driven energy efficiency improvements to a broad array of equipment that will save consumers about $2 trillion on their utility bills through 2030."  
EE Day scheduled for October 5th 
EE day logo
The second nationwide Energy Efficiency Day will take place on October 5, 2017. Last year, more than 175 organizations across the country joined together to promote the benefits of energy efficiency. We expect this year to be bigger and better. For details on how to participate and to access the ready-to-use social media, contact Marianne DiMascio.
Fun Facts
three doors According to our latest ASAP/ACEEE report, which states had the highest average household utility bill savings from standards in 2015? Which had the highest per household electricity savings? Guess the top three states for each.