What if there were no appliance standards?
- Appliances would use 2-3 times more energy than they do today;
- You’d be paying about $500 more a year to power the appliances and lights in your home.
- There would be added strain on the power grid on hot summer days.
- There would be even more greenhouse gases and other pollution in the air.
Without standards some innovation and efficiency gains would have occurred on their own. However, appliance standards were the catalyst for many of the energy efficiency gains in appliances and equipment over the last 30+ years.
So, why haven’t you heard of appliance standards before?
Appliance standards aren’t advertised or touted in the press because once a standard goes into effect all products manufactured or imported for sale in the U.S. must meet the minimum efficiency requirements. Unlike the voluntary “Energy Star” label or the required “Energy Guide” which shows a product’s energy use compared to others, the minimum standards are invisible to consumers. Congress has passed several appliance standards laws, directly setting standards for some products and requiring the Department of Energy (DOE) to set standards for others. DOE and Congress together have set minimum efficiency standards for more than 50 residential, commercial and lighting products.
U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu routinely refers to appliance standards as one of the most effective energy policies. He was quoted last year as saying: "These energy-conserving appliance standards are a critical part of the Administration's overall efforts to save energy in homes and businesses nationwide. By raising the energy efficiency requirements of our everyday appliances, we will save money for American families and companies, reduce carbon pollution, and enhance our energy security for decades to come."
Fortunately for consumers, for the reliability of our energy systems and for our environment, you don’t have to ask “What If?”