Groups urge Biden administration to “Finish the job” on appliance efficiency standards

Media Contacts
Johanna Neumann

Senior Director, Campaign for 100% Renewable Energy, Environment America Research & Policy Center

Jon Maunder

Media Relations Specialist, The Public Interest Network

WASHINGTON — Members of Congress joined consumer, climate and health advocates outside the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on Wednesday to urge the Biden administration to finalize strong appliance standards. 

“The Biden administration has used up its wiggle room,” said Lisa Frank, Executive Director, Washington Legislative Office, Environment America. “For the sake of our health and our planet, and to hit the pollution reduction goals set by the administration, the government needs to deliver. Wiser energy use will make it easier to repower our nation with renewable energy, including solar and wind.”

The DOE has repeated a pledge to issue standards in this presidential term that would save consumers nearly $1 trillion and avert 2.5 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. To achieve those ambitious-yet-reachable targets, the department needs to finalize more than a dozen pending product standards. It has previously finalized standards for products including  furnaces, refrigerators and clothes dryers. 

“Energy-efficient appliances are popular because they slash energy bills and keep more money in pocketbooks,” said U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL-14). “Plus, they help reduce air pollution and the costly impacts of the heating climate. The Biden Administration should continue to build on the savings and historic progress by finalizing the remaining energy efficiency standards as quickly as possible.”

However, given the opportunity in early April to finalize strong new standards for transformers, the DOE issued a watered-down version of the proposal, leaving large amounts of energy savings on the table. 

“Just by fulfilling its commitments on efficiency standards, the Biden administration can deliver for consumers, our climate and our health,” said Madeline Parker, Outreach and Engagement Coordinator, Appliance Standards Awareness Project. “They need to get the job done.”

More efficient appliances require less energy, which can lead to less air pollution and improvements in public health

“Making appliances more efficient is good for our patients’ health,” said Katie Huffling, Executive Director, Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments. “Reducing energy waste protects America’s children and families from asthma attacks, heart attacks and premature death.”

On top of their environmental and health benefits, appliance efficiency standards offer a critical way to help consumers with utility bills

“Making appliances more efficient lowers consumers’ utility bills,” said Berneta Haynes, Senior Attorney, National Consumer Law Center. “Many consumers will skip taking needed prescriptions in order to cover their utility bills. That’s why the utility savings generated from new energy efficiency standards are so important.” 

Finalizing strong energy efficiency standards, alongside solutions for pollution across other agencies, will help the Biden administration meet its goal of cutting climate pollution in half by the end of the decade. The Department of Energy needs to codify more than a dozen pending standards, including those for residential water heaters and commercial and industrial fans and blowers. The Department of Energy’s proposal on home water heaters would deliver the largest energy-saving impact of any standard developed during this administration. 

The groups organizing Wednesday’s rally submitted a letter signed by more than 140 organizations and more than 12,000 letters and petition signatures from members of the public supporting the proposed water heater efficiency standard.