The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has begun the formal process for issuing energy efficiency standards for major residential and commercial appliances and equipment, according to the Alliance to Save Energy, an industry coalition.
The Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANOPR) for residential furnaces and boilers, commercial air-conditioners and heat pumps, and electric distribution transformers comes just a week after two U.S. senators -- Government Affairs Committee Chair Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME, U.S.) and Ranking Member Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT, U.S.) -- sent a letter to Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham criticizing the department's foot-dragging and quantifying the eventual energy savings from the new standards.
After multiple postponements, the ANOPR means DOE should soon publish proposed regulations setting minimum energy-efficiency standards for the three categories of equipment, the Alliance said.
"The wasted energy and money and the unnecessary environmental degradation during the years of delay cannot be recouped," said Alliance President Kateri Callahan. "Until the new rules go into effect in 2009 or 2010, inefficient equipment that can last for 20 to 30 years will be sold and installed in homes and businesses."
The Allinace beliefs the amount of energy saved with the new standards will be enough to meet annual needs of 6 million U.S. households, while saving enough natural gas to heat one out of every 10 homes that use the fuel.
"We urge DOE to follow through with prompt publication of proposed regulations that will take maximum advantage of energy-efficiency technologies, so that our nation can reap the multiple benefits for our economy, environment, and energy security," Ms. Callahan said. "The Alliance stands ready to help DOE move forward."
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