Energy Conservation & Efficiency

Biden Administration aims to improve energy efficiency

On Tuesday, the Biden Administration outlined energy and climate plans including making water heaters, washing machines, dishwashers and other appliances more energy efficient.

Johanna Neumann | TPIN
Johanna Neumann with an efficient electric heat pump water heater. Heat pump water heaters can heat water 2-3 times more efficiently than electric resistance water heaters.

On Tuesday, the Biden administration outlined its energy agenda for the coming months, which features a continued push to to reduce energy waste in everyday household appliances.

“Our nation’s cleanest and cheapest energy solution is energy efficiency,” said Johanna Neumann, Senior Director of the Campaign for 100% Renewable Energy at Environment America Research & Policy Center. “Given the impacts of producing and consuming energy on the environment and our health, our nation needs to seize every opportunity to use energy more wisely.”

The Department of Energy has already held hearings and comment periods on efficiency rules for a number of appliances, including clothes washers, refrigerators, walk-in coolers and freezers, commercial refrigeration equipment, dishwashers and more. Those standards are expected to be finalized soon.

Later this month, the agency also plans to issue its first update to efficiency standards for water heaters in 13 years. From an energy-saving standpoint, the water heater rules are a big deal. If finalized, these standards are projected to save more energy than any Department of Energy appliance efficiency standard adopted to date, according to the Appliance Standards Awareness Project. The updated water heater efficiency standards could avert hundreds of millions of metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions and reduce other air pollutants—such as nitrogen oxides—that harm human health.

Consumers—in particular those purchasing electric water heaters—would see large utility bill savings as a result of the recommended standards. Heat pump water heaters could save households $185 on utility bills every year. Taking into account additional upfront costs, households would save more than $1,000 over the lifetime of the product, according to The Appliance Standards Awareness Project.

The 60-day public comment period on the proposed water heater rule is expected to open later this summer.

 

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