What Are Efficiency Standards?
Efficiency standards require products such as refrigerators, electric motors, and air conditioners to meet specific energy requirements. Minimum-efficiency standards apply to new equipment sold in the United States, removing inefficient products from the market. Consumers still have a range of efficient products to choose from, with desired attributes and features.
A History of Consistent Federal Support — Across Four Administrations
Minimum-efficiency standards for appliances and other equipment were adopted by the federal government in order to address market failures, replace a patchwork of state standards, save consumers money, and reduce energy use and peak electrical demand.
- o In 1986, appliance manufacturers and energy efficiency supporters agreed to support uniform national standards on an array of products. In 1987, President Reagan signed the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA). Standards for fluorescent lamp ballasts were added by Congress in 1988, and in 1992 President Bush signed the Energy Policy Act that included efficiency standards for certain types of lamps, electric motors, and commercial heating and cooling equipment.
- o In 1989 and 1991, the first Bush Administration issued improved standards for refrigerators, clothes washers and dryers, and dishwashers, and began work on several additional standards, laying the groundwork for the Clinton Administration to set new standards for refrigerators, room air conditioners, ballasts, clothes washers, water heaters, and residential central air conditioners and heat pumps. Recently, the new Bush Administration reaffirmed the Clinton clothes washer and water heater standards but announced its intention to weaken the new air conditioner standard to a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) of 12, down from SEER 13.