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Frozen In Time

DOE’s Implementation of Energy Efficiency Standards Moves at a Glacial Pace

In the wake of the 1970’s energy crisis and in a rare showing of common sense, Congress decided that the US needed minimum energy efficiency standards for appliances. These standards, meant to lessen the US’ energy consumption, were entrusted to the Department of Energy for creation and implementation. It’s been thirty years now, and for the most part we’re still waiting.

Most of the deadlines set by Congress are long past. For example, the mandated minimum efficiency standards for dishwashers and clothes dryers were supposed to have been met 12 years ago. The DOE also “just missed” (by ten years) deadlines for implementing minimum standards for kitchen ranges and ovens, as well as room air conditioners. Nor does the DOE show any sign of enacting these standards any time soon.

This may not seem all that important, but it’s actually a really big deal. Appliances make up almost one-third of US energy consumption. Generating electricity is a dirty business, creating greenhouse gases that add to global warming. The energy savings from updated standards could be equal to the electricity from 65 large power plants.

Our energy usage carries grave implications from environmental, economic, and national security standpoints. Help Drive Change and encourage the DOE to create energy efficiency standards for appliances. You can send Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman an email or a letter (which is more personal and carries more weight).