The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) granted a petition for a new standard for home refrigerators in a letter released on April 12, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) announced. The petition, submitted by a diverse coalition including state governments, utility companies, consumer and low-income advocacy groups, and environmental and energy efficiency organizations, requested that DOE commence a rulemaking to strengthen an existing national standard.
"We are very pleased DOE has granted our petition," said Steven Nadel, dxecutive director of the ACEEE. "DOE’s action recognizes the enormous energy and dollar savings at stake in making home refrigerators more efficient."
By law, the agency must set national standards at the most energy-efficient level that is cost-effective for consumers. The petition cited a recent DOE analysis that estimates that new refrigerator standards could save 5.78 quadrillion BTUs of energy over the 2010 to 2035 period, which is enough to meet the total electricity needs of 4 out of 10 U.S. homes for one year. According to the petition, a 30-percent improvement in the standard could net consumers about $10 billion in savings, ACEEE said.
The DOE must now initiate a public rulemaking to determine the appropriate level for the new standard. The department's determination of a future standard will likely turn on analysis of what standard level is cost-effective for consumers.
In addition to ACEEE, the other petitioners include Consumer Federal of America, Appliance Standards Awareness Project, California Energy Commission; Natural Resources Defense Council; National Consumer Law Center; National Grid, USA; Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships; Northwest Power and Conservation Council; Pacific Gas and Electric Company; and Vermont Energy Investment Corporation.
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