Department of Energy Proposes New Lightbulb Efficiency Rule 

Today, the White House and the Department of Energy (DOE) announced that the Biden-Harris Administration has surpassed its goal to take 100 actions in 2022 to strengthen energy efficiency standards for a range of appliances and equipment to lower costs for American families. These new standards advanced by the Biden-Harris Administration will help save the average family at least $100 annually through lower energy bills.

Today, DOE proposed a rule to further boost lightbulb efficiency to lock in household savings and climate benefits for years to come. The proposed rule to strengthen lightbulb efficiency standards would deliver cumulative consumer savings of $20 billion and reduce carbon emissions by 131 million metric tons over 30 years.

This is the 110th action to strengthen energy efficiency standards that the Administration has taken in 2022. These 110 actions span a range of household products—everything from air conditioners and furnaces, to clothes washers and dryers, to kitchen appliances and water heaters—as well as commercial and industrial equipment. Once finalized, these standards will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 2.4 billion metric tons, equivalent to the carbon emissions from 10 million homes, 17 million gas cars, or 21 coal-fired power plants over 30 years. The projected consumer savings from these standards would be $570 billion cumulatively, and for an average household this will mean at least $100 in annual savings.

The Biden-Harris Administration has moved quickly to address a vast backlog of outdated energy efficiency standards. DOE took critical steps in 2021 to remedy the rollbacks and procedural roadblocks left by the prior Administration, and throughout 2022 delivered on an ambitious slate of new actions to lower costs, boost American energy security, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful air pollution. 

President Biden’s unprecedented actions to strengthen efficiency standards are a key part of his work to save families money and create good-paying jobs. He secured historic investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act for home efficiency upgrades, including weatherization and electric appliance rebates. Last month the Administration announced a range of actions to lower energy costs for families, including $9 billion from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act for states and Tribes to administer home efficiency rebate programs that could support cost-saving upgrades for up to 1.6 million households. 

Highlights of 100+ Actions to Strengthen Energy Efficiency Standards

Today, Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young, and National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi are highlighting successful completion of more than 100 actions in 2022 to strengthen energy efficiency standards and save the average household at least $100 annually. 

Key highlights of these wide-ranging actions include:

  • Lightbulbs: Today’s proposed rule to strengthen lightbulb efficiency standards would deliver cumulative consumer savings of $20 billion and reduce carbon emissions by 131 million metric tons over 30 years. These benefits are in addition to DOE’s final actions earlier this year to implement a nearer-term phaseout of inefficient incandescent bulbs, which will save consumers nearly $3 billion annually, while reducing carbon emissions by 222 million metric tons over 30 years—the equivalent of what 28 million homes emit in a year.
  • Gas Furnaces: DOE proposed new standards for residential gas furnaces—which had not been significantly strengthened in over three decades—to achieve a 95% annual fuel utilization efficiency level, improvements that will save consumers $1.9 billion annually. Over 30 years, the rule would reduce carbon emissions by 373 million metric tons and methane emissions by 5.1 million tons, the equivalent of what 61 million homes emit in a year. 
  • Room Air Conditioners: American households purchase over seven million room air conditioners each year. DOE issued a proposed rule to boost the efficiency of these units, which would save consumers up to $275 over the life of the product. The proposal would also reduce carbon emissions over 30 years by nearly 50 million metric tons, the equivalent of what more than 6 million homes emit in a year. 
  • Clothes Dryers: DOE proposed stronger efficiency standards for both electric and gas clothes dryers, which could save the average household $36 on annual utility bills. Over 30 years, the rule would reduce carbon emissions by 116 million metric tons, the equivalent of what 14.6 million homes emit in a year. 

Along with stronger standards for common household appliances, DOE has also advanced updated standards for commercial and industrial equipment (including commercial water heating equipment and circulator pumps), and for buildings overall (including manufactured home energy efficiency, federal building energy efficiency, and federal building emissions reduction). In addition to proposed and final standards, DOE’s 110 actions this year also include test procedures and coverage determinations—rulemakings that lay the groundwork for DOE to issue stronger efficiency standards.

DOE will continue to make rapid progress in 2023, with additional actions planned including issuance of 30 proposed and final rules to update standards for a variety of product categories.


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