Today the U.S. Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) along with a nationwide coalition of energy and water efficiency supporters announced a major agreement to establish new mandatory federal energy and water efficiency standards, new Energy Star levels, and manufacturer tax credits for the production of super-efficient clothes washers, dishwashers, refrigerators, and dehumidifiers that increase the efficiency of these products by 11 to 48 percent.
The agreement seeks legislation to implement the appliance efficiency standards and tax credits and represents significant energy and water savings for U.S. consumers. According to analysis conducted for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), which supported the negotiations, the new energy standards and tax incentives in the agreement will result in a savings of up to 3.3 Quads of energy and nearly 11 million acre feet of water over 30 years.
The agreement is significant for the potential energy and water savings as well as because it includes the first-ever national minimum water efficiency standards for residential clothes washers and dishwashers. In addition, the agreement provides for DOE to update these legislated and current standards by conducting new rulemakings for refrigerators, clothes washers, and dishwashers.
DOE has estimated that when taking into account these additional rulemakings, the total 30-year energy savings increases to nearly 15 Quads of energy and 68 million acre feet of water. Total cumulative utility bill savings for consumers are estimated to be as high as U.S. $68 billion.
The agreement also provides for manufacturer tax credits for the production of super-efficient residential refrigerators, clothes washers, dishwashers, dehumidifiers, and commercial clothes washers. A similar appliance manufacturer’s tax credit was included in the 2005 Energy Policy Act. This incentive seeks to accelerate the production and market penetration of leading-edge appliance technologies that create significant environmental benefits.
AHAM said it is pleased with Congressional support for the agreement, which includes Senators Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Gordon Smith (R-OR), who introduced legislation to execute the standards provisions in the agreement (S. 1101). In the House, Representative Sander Levin (D-MI) is to introduce legislation to implement the agreement’s tax credit provisions, and Representatives Bart Gordon (D-TN) and Chip Pickering (R-MS) have introduced legislation on the standards provisions.
Testifying before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality, AHAM president Joseph M. McGuire hailed the agreement as a major win for consumers and an example of how industry, advocacy groups and government can work together for market transforming policies aimed at appliance efficiency.
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