Issue 13

December 2013

DOE Issued an Average of One Proposed Standard Per Month Since August
Boy in puddle In our last issue we noted a slight thaw as rules that had been 'frozen' at OMB for months (and longer) were released. In this issue, we can comfortably say that the ice has melted. Since August, DOE has issued five proposed standards as it works to catch up on a backlog of missed deadlines. Of the five proposed rules (commercial refrigeration, electric motors, furnace fans, metal halide lamp fixtures, and walk-in coolers and freezers), all but furnace fans were included in an agreement between DOE and a multi-state coalition, led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. In a letter to AG Schneiderman, DOE agreed to catch up on the four overdue standards and to issue final rules for each in the first five months of 2014. 
In August, DOE also published the semi-annual multi-year schedule, outlining a timetable for the more than 30 active standards and test procedure rulemakings on their agenda. 
Getting Revved Up About Electric Motor Standards

It's easy to get revved up about electric motor standards given the potential for big savings. Motors are a ubiquitous presence in commercial and industrial sites, showing up most often with pumps, fans, and compressors. In the proposed rule released December 6, DOE estimates that savings based on purchases over 30 years will total $23 billion and add up to one trillion kilowatt hours of electricity making this standard among the biggest energy savers DOE has ever issued. The proposed standards are based on a consensus agreement between NEMA, the group representing electric motor manufacturers, and efficiency proponents including ASAP and ACEEE. The groups recommended that DOE expand the scope of coverage to include motors not previously regulated instead of making small adjustments to the standards for already-regulated motors. The proposed rule reflects the coalition's recommendations.
Efficiency Standards in President Obama's Climate Plan

Appliance, equipment and lighting standards play a big role in the President's efforts to limit CO2 emissions. In his June 2013 climate plan, the President set a goal to reach 3 BILLION METRIC TONS OF CO2 REDUCTIONS by 2030 from efficiency standards set during the first and second terms. To date, the administration has issued standards that will result in approximately 1.8 billion metric tons of CO2 reductions, with 1.2 billion more to go over the course of the next three years. The bar graph below provides a breakdown of what has transpired and what remains to be accomplished. 

Of the 1.2 billion MT of CO2 reductions remaining, 0.2 billion MT are expected from five products for which final rules are due in the first half of 2014 (commercial refrigeration, external power supplies, furnace fans, metal halide lamp fixtures and walk-in coolers and freezers). Net consumer savings estimates from DOE range from $20-$60 billion over thirty years of sales. We expect an additional 0.5 billion MT reductions from 14 products already on DOE's schedule and which were analyzed in the ASAP/ACEEE 2012 Efficiency Boom report.The net consumer savings from this group of products is estimated at $43 billion with the greatest savings coming from battery chargers, commercial air conditioners, electric motors, pumps, and incandescent reflector lamps.

The final 0.5 billion MT of CO2 reductions require more digging. Savings are not yet calculated for a number of rulemakings already in process (commercial boilers, ceiling fans, dehumidifiers, packaged terminal AC and heat pumps, single package vertical AC and heat pumps, commercial water heaters, and wine chillers); or for two products which are due for the 6-year review (small motors, vending machines.) These products will not quite close the gap to 3 billion MT so the administration will need to pursue standards for products not yet scheduled. ASAP is reviewing the products in the pipeline and will make recommendations to the administration on how to reach the goal. 

In the meantime, it's 1.8 billion metric tons of CO2 and counting...
When the Lights Went Out on Superbowl XLVII

Football stadium An introduction to metal halide light fixtures would be incomplete without a trip down memory lane. Last year, the lights went out during the Superbowl and didn't come back on for 24 minutes (an additional ten minutes was needed for non-lighting electrical issues for a total game delay of 34 minutes). The bright metal halide stadium lights were just doing what they do naturally - cooling off and heating up. When first turned on, the lights take just a few minutes to heat up. But when they are turned off or when electricity goes out, they must first cool down before they heat up. Thus the long wait before the game resumed.

The recent DOE proposed standards for metal halide lamp fixtures won't fix the Superbowl problem but they will improve the efficiency of the ballasts and shorten the initial start-up time for some types of fixtures. The proposed standards would cut down on energy losses (which run about 10-30%) and would require improvements to the most common type of ballast - magnetic ballasts - or a switch to more efficient electronic ballasts. Though the standards would cover lamps from 50 W - 2000 W, just the 100-150 W fixtures would require performance on par with high-efficiency electronic ballasts. Greater savings could be achieved if DOE considered higher efficiencies for additional wattage levels.
Let's hope that the power stays on for this year's Superbowl. Officials at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey aren't taking any chances. They've added a third power line so the stadium has enough energy to power the equivalent of 12,000 homes. 
Read the blog post for more details. 
Choices Abound as Inefficient Bulbs Are Phased Out

The new year rings in the final phase of the incandescent lighting standards signed into law by President Bush in 2007. As of January 1, 2014, 60- and 40-watt bulbs manufactured or imported into the U.S. will need to be more efficient - providing similar light output but using less energy. This follows the phase in of more efficient 75- and 100-watt equivalent bulbs in 2012 and 2013. The chart above, prepared by NRDC, shows the 10-year savings from swapping just one traditional 60 watt bulb to an energy-saving bulb. A consumer would save between $12 and $61 depending on the type of bulb selected - savings of up to 75% per bulb.


Innovations in lighting have paralleled the introduction of the lighting standards, as the old energy--wasting bulbs made way for new and better options. Consumers can now choose between halogen incandescents, CFLs (compact fluorescents), and LEDs (light-emitting diodes) with a variety of choices in brightness (lumens), color, dimming ability, and appearance. 


Once fully implemented, the transition to more efficient lighting is expected to save consumers over $13 billion dollars on their annual energy bills - now that's illuminating!


Read the NRDC blog post by Noah Horowitz

What's Up at DOE?

DOE seal
It's been an active fall at DOE continuing a trend we began to see last spring and summer with the publication of standards for microwave ovens and distribution transformers. High on the list of important DOE actions this fall were proposed rules for five products, four of which were overdue and all of which are scheduled for completion in the next 6 months. DOE is actively engaged in approximately 25 additional standards or test procedure dockets. 

Commercial Refrigeration Equipment
Proposed rule, September 11, 2013
If you've been in a supermarket grabbing a gallon of milk from a display case (with or without a door), you've seen commercial refrigeration equipment. Proposed standards would cut energy use on a typical refrigerated display case by about 25% and cut electricity bills by $450 per year. Savings on these and other types of commercial refrigeration equipment can be achieved with higher efficiency compressors, fan motors and fan blades, LED lighting and occupancy controls, and better heat exchangers and insulation. A final rule is expected in February 2014. (Read the blog post)

Ceiling Fans
Request for Information, October 22, 2013
DOE published this RFI to learn more about the interaction between ceiling fans and air conditioning usage. For example, when a ceiling fan is used in conjunction with a central air conditioner do consumers change their thermostat setting? Do consumers without ceiling fans use their air conditioners more than consumers with ceiling fans? These questions and others were posed in response to concerns raised by ceiling fan manufacturers at a May 2013 hearing to discuss the Framework Document. Six comment letters were received and can be viewed here (right side of the page). 

Electric Motors
Proposed Rule, December 6, 2013
Electric motors are highlighted in the first article above. 

Furnace Fans
Proposed Rule, October 25, 2013 Furnace Fan
Proposed standards would reduce energy use by about 40% on the fans that circulate heated and cooled air through the ductwork of a home. Average furnace fan energy use is about 800 kWh per year currently. Large efficiency gains could be achieved by switching the motor used to drive the fan from a permanent spit capacitor (PSC) motor to a constant-torque brushless permanent magnet motor. (Read the blog post)

Metal Halide Lamp Fixtures
Proposed Rule, August 20, 2013
Metal halide lamp fixtures are highlighted in the third article above. 

General Service Lamps
Framework Document, December 9, 2013
DOE began rulemaking for general service lamps (GSLs) by releasing a framework document. The GSL category includes incandescent lamps, CFLs, and LEDs used to satisfy lighting applications traditionally served by general service incandescent lamps. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) requires DOE to start this rulemaking prior to January 1, 2014, and to issue a final rule no later than January 1, 2017.  

Walk-in Coolers and Freezers
Proposed Rule, September 11, 2013
Walk-ins are large insulated refrigerated spaces used to temporarily store refrigerated and frozen food before transferring it to refrigerated display cases in a store. They are also used to store food in restaurants. Improved efficiency for walk-in coolers and freezers can be achieved through better-insulated panels and doors, and higher efficiency refrigeration system components. (Read the blog post)


Test Procedures
Commercial Refrigeration Equipment
Proposed Rule, October 28, 2013
Direct Heating Equipment and Pool Heaters
Proposed Rule, October 24, 2013
Clothes Dryers
Final Rule, August 14, 2013 Dryer
The most important change to the test procedure involves automatic termination control (ATC), or the ability of a dryer to shut off when the clothes are dry. Currently, the test procedure stops the dryer before the end of the cycle. The new test procedure will let the dryer run until it automatically shuts off, thereby capturing the ability of a dryer to determine when the clothes are dry and to minimize unnecessary end-of-cycle energy use. This change to the test procedure could help achieve significant energy savings by encouraging the use of better automatic termination controls. Because of a timing issue, the test procedure change to capture ATC will not take effect with the new standards in 2015, but is queued up to become effective in the future and can be used by ENERGY STAR in the meantime. 

Final Rule, October 25, 2013
The new TV test methods, which replace the analog test procedures repealed by DOE in 2009, adopt tests for active (on mode), standby mode, off mode, and screen luminance measurements.They also add an annual energy consumption metric which combines the different power modes. The test methods are based on draft standards from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA-2037-A) and the International Electronic Commission (IEC 62087 Ed. 3.0.) Once these industry test methods are completed, DOE will consider amending the test methods to align with the final industry test methods. Point of interest: the average 'on mode' time for a television is 5 hours. (Read the blog post)

Residential and Commercial Water Heaters
Proposed Rule, November 4, 2013
DOE released a proposed rule for a new test procedure and efficiency metric for residential and light commercial water heaters. Currently residential and commercial water heaters have different federal test procedures and efficiency metrics. The proposed test procedure categorizes water heaters by capacity (point of use, low, medium and high usage) and requires that units be tested in a manner that reflects the typical usage of a water heater of that capacity over a 24 hour period. For the efficiency metric, DOE proposes using a modified version of the Energy Factor metric currently used for residential water heaters. DOE is expected to issue a final rule sometime in early 2014.

Plumbing Products (showerheads, faucets, water closets, urinals, commercial pre-rinse spray valves)
Final Rule, October 23, 2013
The test procedure amendments will not change the way water use is measured, but they clarify a number of terms and reduce ambiguities in the language. 

Proposed Determination
DOE issued proposed determinations for natural draft commercial packaged boilers and miscellaneous residential refrigerated products (such as wine chillers and icemakers), preliminarily determining that both meet the criteria for covered products.  
State of the States
us map color
The California Energy Commission held workshops in September to share responses to the appliance efficiency rulemaking "Invitation to Participate". Staff are now preparing reports for products in Phase I of the rulemaking. 

No news to report in other states until the legislative sessions get underway. If you are interested in pursuing state standards, please contact Marianne DiMascio for more information. 
Fun Facts

According to data from Leichtman Research Group, among U.S households that subscribe to a multi-channel video service, 47% have a DVR (Digital Video Recorder), up from 40% in 2010 and 23% in 2007. 59% of households with income above $50,000 have a DVR while only 30% of households with income below $50,000 have a DVR. 


For more info: 

Marianne DiMascio, Appliance Standards Awareness Project


In This Issue
Getting Revved Up About Electric Motor Standards
President Obama's Lofty Goals for Appliance Standards
When the Lights Went Out on Superbowl XLVII
Choices Abound as Inefficient Bulbs Are Phased Out
What's Up at DOE?
State of the States
Fun Facts
The ASAP Blog
Read our recent blog posts:

Commercial Refrigeration and Walk-n Coolers and Freezers:

Electric Motors: 
Just in Time for Thanksgiving: A Feast of Energy Savings from DOE's Proposed New Electric Motor Standards

Furnace Fans: 

Why Recent Progress in Television Efficiency Should Make You Feel Better About Binge Watching Your Favorite Shows

Metal Halide Lamp Fixtures:
Breaking News from NRDC on Game Consoles: 
What Consumer- Friendly Energy Policy Could Save Consumers Nearly $1000 a Year?
According to a new report by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), energy efficiency performance standards could save consumers nearly $1000 a year. The report author, Mark Cooper, says: "Well-crafted, long-term energy efficiency performance standards give consumers and businesses extra cash through significant energy savings." Kudos to Mark Cooper and CFA for one of the most well-documented reports on the topic to pass our desks. 

Ceiling Fans Globally
The Super-efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment Initiative (SEAD) released a report on the global benefits of improved energy efficiency of ceiling fans. The analysis shows that ceiling fan energy efficiency can be cost-effectively improved by at least 50% using commercially available technology. Colorful ceiling fan
Hot Off the Press

The EIA released its Annual Energy Outlook 2014 on Monday, December 16.
Cable box
Fun Facts

What percentage of American homes have a DVR (digital video recorder)?


See answers below.