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Appliance Manufacturers Want New Energy Efficiency Standards, Tax Policies

Home appliance manufacturers, their trade organization, and a nationwide coalition of energy and water efficiency supporters have called for new national minimum efficiency standards, production tax credits for super-efficient appliances and inclusion of “smart grid” readiness as a feature of future Energy Star-qualified appliances.

The agreed upon standards could save enough energy to meet the total energy needs of 40 percent of American homes for one year and the amount of water necessary to meet the current water needs of every customer in the City of Los Angeles for 25 years, according to a press release from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

“This agreement is an innovative approach to delivering substantial energy and water savings to the consumer through traditional energy and water standards and manufacturing incentives for  super-efficient appliances, as well as new incentives for the deployment of smart appliances,” said Joseph McGuire, President of the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers.

Appliance manufactures and efficiency advocates will pursue adoption of these recommendations through administrative action by the Department of Energy and through legislative action by Congress.

Senator Jeff Bingaman, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, noted that “increased energy efficiency through cost-effective energy standards for appliances and consumer products remains the single most cost-effective strategy for strengthening our nation’s economic and energy security.  Consensus agreements such as this generally attract bipartisan support. I look forward to working with my colleagues to see if these standards can be incorporated into legislation.”

The recommended new standards will reduce new refrigerator and freezer energy use by up to 30 percent by January 2014. For top-loading clothes washers, 26 percent energy savings and 16 percent water savings would kick in for 2015 relative to current standards, increasing to 37 percent energy and water savings in 2018.  For front-loading clothes washers, the savings will be 43 percent for energy and 52 percent for water in 2015 compared to today’s standards.  Clothes dryers will increase in efficiency by 5 percent in 2015.  In addition, changes to the dryer test procedure will reduce over-drying, saving additional energy and extending the life of clothes.  Room air conditioners will see a 10 to 15 percent increase in efficiency effective June 2014 and dishwashers will see 14 percent energy savings and 23 percent water savings beginning in January 2013.  Many of the new standards are based on levels of efficiency that previously earned federal tax credits, illustrating how these tax credits can contribute towards transforming markets towards higher efficiency products.

Additional key features of the agreement include:

Support for a three-year extension and update of an existing manufacturers’ tax credit for the production of super-efficient clothes washers, dishwashers, refrigerators, and freezers.

A planned petition to the Energy Star program to provide a 5 percent credit to the required energy levels for smart appliances.

Recommendations that DOE improve test methods for dryers and refrigerators to better represent actual product energy use.

The agreement was signed by major appliance manufacturing members of the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers and by major energy and water efficiency organizations, consumer groups, and environmental organizations including the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Alliance for Water Efficiency, Alliance to Save Energy, Appliance Standards Awareness Project, Consumer Federation of America, National Consumer Law Center, Natural Resources Defense Council, Northwest Power and Conservation Council, and Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships.

More details can be found here.

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