DOE Issues Advance Notices of Proposed Rulemaking for Appliance Efficiency Standards
Aug 2, 2004
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The U.S. Department of Energy announced on July 30 that it is proposing new energy-efficiency standards for three product categories -- residential furnaces and boilers, commercial air-conditioners and heat pumps, and the transformers that utilities use in their electrical distribution systems.

In addition, U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham has announced the upcoming publication of Advance Notices of Proposed Rulemaking regarding the energy-efficiency standards for the three products. Each of the products will be the subject of an upcoming public meeting at which the DOE will summarize its analysis and seek public comment.

The public meetings are scheduled for Sept. 28, 2004 for distribution transformers; Sept 29, 2004 for residential furnaces and boilers; and Sept. 30, 2004 for commercial air-conditioners and heat pumps. DOE says the purpose of the public meetings is to present its analysis methods and to characterize the results to date; to discuss specific issues related to each rulemaking; to seek input from attendees on methodologies, assumptions and data sources; and to describe upcoming analyses and next steps.

Energy-efficiency standards are part of DOE's Appliance and Commercial Equipment Standards Program, established in accordance with the requirements of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975.

To date, DOE claims that energy-efficiency standards have saved 7.9 quadrillion BTUs (quads) of energy and have saved the U.S. $31.3 billion in reduced energy bills. Furthermore, the organization projects that existing energy-efficiency standards will save another 73.7 quads and $147.4 billion between now and 2030. The three products subject to the announcement currently use a total of 6.9 quads of energy per year: distribution transformers use 1.6 quads; commercial air-conditioners and heat pumps use 0.7 quads; and residential furnaces and boilers use 4.6 quads.

Three announcements in the Federal Register (dated July 29) are each accompanied by the posting of the Technical Support Document as well as various analytical tools on DOE's Web site (

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