Testimony: Energy and Water Efficiency Standards

Establishing minimum efficiency standards for our appliances will save energy, protect public health, and lower utility bills.  

HB772/SB494- Maryland Energy Administration – Energy and Water Efficiency Standards – Alterations
Position: Favorable
February 23, 2022

Emily Scarr, Maryland PIRG Director

Maryland PIRG and Environment Maryland support HB772 which would set energy efficiency standards for 13 appliances and plumbing fixtures in Maryland homes and businesses. Establishing minimum efficiency standards for our appliances will save energy, protect public health, and lower utility bills.  

Reducing energy waste is one of Maryland’s best weapons in the fight against global warming. Using energy inefficiently only exacerbates those issues as it increases pollution in our air and water, costs Maryland citizens money and threatens our ability to repower our energy systems with 100 percent renewable sources.

One practical solution to energy waste in Maryland is to strengthen minimum energy efficiency standards for our appliances and plumbing fixtures to ensure that they are not needlessly wasting energy and water. SB494 would set standards for 10 products, from air purifiers and showerheads to commercial steam cookers. 

In its first year in effect, SB494 would reap the following benefits in Maryland:

  • Save 130 gigawatts of electricity which is enough to power 10,000 MD homes.
  • Prevent 55 thousand metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere which is the equivalent of taking 12,000 cars off of the road. 
  • Save 4.2 million gallons of water which is enough to provide for 58,000 families each year. 

Those annual savings would only continue to go up each consecutive year. 

Appliance efficiency standards in Maryland is a commonsense opportunity to reduce energy waste and progress us towards a greener future — and it’s one that we have already started to take advantage of. We have set minimum energy-saving requirements for products from bottle-type water dispensers to commercial hot-food holding cabinets. However, we have not updated or added new appliance standards since 2007. 

We urge you to pass this bill to protect our planet, public health and our pocketbooks. It makes no sense for us to allow our appliances and plumbing fixtures to continue to needlessly waste energy. We hope that Maryland will be the next one to take advantage of the cleanest form of energy there is — the energy we never use in the first place. 

We respectfully request a favorable report.

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Emily Scarr

State Director, Maryland PIRG

Emily directs strategy, organizational development, research, communications and legislative advocacy for Maryland PIRG. Emily has helped win small donor public financing in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard County, Montgomery County, and Prince George's County. She has played a key role in establishing new state laws to to protect public health by restricting the use of antibiotics on Maryland farms, require testing for lead in school drinking water and restrict the use of toxic flame retardant and PFAS chemicals. Emily also serves on the Executive Committees of the Maryland Fair Elections Coalition and the Maryland Campaign to Keep Antibiotics Working. Emily lives in Baltimore City with her husband, kids, and dog.

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