Issue 14

March 2014

DOE: Three Months - Three Standards
In the past three months, the Department of Energy (DOE) issued a string of three new efficiency standards for metal halide lamp fixtures, external power supplies, and commercial refrigeration equipment. The three products, though not household names, are commonplace in our daily lives. 
  • Metal Halide Lamp Fixtures are most commonly used for street and other outdoor lighting, and in big-box stores, warehouses and gyms. The final standards are less stringent than those proposed by DOE in August. Read the blog post 
  • It's hard to turn around these days without running into an external power supply. You'll find these boxes on the power cords of electronic gadgets such as cell phones, laptops, tablets, digital picture frames and countless other devices. The standards will cut adapter energy use from 30-85% depending on the device. Read the blog post
  • You'll find commercial refrigerators and freezers in supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants, and commercial kitchens. Significant reductions in energy use can be accomplished with technologies such as LED lighting and occupancy sensors, high-performance glass doors and high-efficiency motors.  Read the blog post
The most recent standards bring the tally for CO2 reductions from appliance standards through 2030 to nearly 1.9 billion metric tons (MT) since the start of President Obama's Administration. That's about two-thirds of the way toward the president's climate plan goal of 3 billion MT reduction by 2030. Over that same period, consumers and businesses are expected to net $380 billion in savings. You can follow progress toward the goal on our new website tracker

We expect DOE to issue new standards for three additional products this spring. See the next article for details. 
April Showers Will Bring More than May Flowers...
spring flowers
...April showers will also usher in new national standards for walk-in coolers and freezers (April), furnace fans (April), and electric motors (May). Here's a spring preview of each based on DOE's proposed rule: 

Walk-in coolers and freezers are used in supermarkets, convenience stores, and food-service establishments to temporarily store refrigerated and frozen food. Walk-ins are generally assembled on site using a set of components. Improved efficiency for walk-in coolers and freezers can be achieved through better-insulated panels and doors, and higher-efficiency refrigeration system components. Read more

Furnace Fan Furnace Fans circulate heated or cooled air through the ductwork in your home. They consume about 800 kilowatt-hours per year on average for typical units, which is more than the annual energy use of a new refrigerator and dishwasher combined. DOE estimates that the proposed standards would save an average consumer about $400 over the life of a furnace fan. Read more


Electric Motor About one-half of all electricity used by U.S. industry goes to power electric motors.  The proposed standards would expand the scope of coverage to products not previously regulated. Nationally, businesses would save more than $23 billion on purchases over thirty years. Read more


If all goes according to schedule, DOE will be SIX for SIX in 2014 - six months, six standards.

Phase-out Doesn't Phase Consumers
In January a flurry of news articles highlighted the third and final phase of the transition to more efficient lighting. Today's bulbs are at least 25-30% more efficient than the old inefficient incandescents and still deliver the same light output. For example, replacements for the traditional inefficient 60- and 40-watt bulbs are required to use 43 or 29 watts or less respectively to deliver the same brightness (also know as lumens.)
To meet the new standards, manufacturers introduced halogen incandescents which have the same characteristics as traditional incandescents but are 25-30% more efficient. In addition, consumers can opt for CFLs or LEDs, which use 75-80% less energy than traditional incandescents.
A review of the press coverage surrounding the lighting transition points to plentiful consumer choices, a growing number of innovative lighting options, declining prices for LEDs, and a U.S. population making the switch to more efficient bulbs. Here are a few clips from early 2014:  
  • Consumer Reports explores the lighting options.
  • National Public Radio answers Frequently Asked Questions (article and audio).
  • USA Today opines that "the light bulb rule has spurred remarkable innovation and is already saving significant amounts of electricity." 
  • Susan Salisbury in the Boston Globe examines What to Look For in Long-Life Light Bulbs.
  • News outlets picked up a Cree announcement for a 100-watt equivalent LED light bulb and a Philips release for a new and interestingly shaped LED bulb (photo at right). Both are 75-80% more efficient than traditional incandescents and last more than 20 years. 
  • In Today in Energy, The Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that LED prices will drop to CFL levels within ten years while LED efficiency will rise to 150 lumens per watt by 2020.  
  • Osram-Sylvania reports in their 6th Annual Socket Survey that 65% of those polled plan to switch to more efficient light bulbs. Also, an increasing percentage (64%) of people are aware of the phaseout of the traditional incandescent bulbs, up from 52% last year and 21% in 2008.
CFA Report Shows 500% Increase in Digital Device Energy Use 

From 2000 to 2013, the amount of electricity needed to power all the digital devices in an average U.S. household has risen five-fold, according to a report by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA). Mark Cooper, author of Electricity Consumption and Energy Savings Potential of Digital Devices: The Role of California Appliance Standards Leadership, states that: "Digital devices are energy guzzlers sapping consumer pocketbooks." The increasing number and use of devices such as computers, tablets, game consoles, modems and more has led to the sharp spike in electricity use and costs since 2000. However, the author notes that improving the energy efficiency of these devices could bring the cost to use them down by a third or more. Here's a graph showing potential reductions in electricity use (a larger version can be found on page 6 of the report.): 
Mr. Cooper specifically calls out cost-effective efficiency standards as a tool to achieve savings and looks to the California Energy Commission (CEC) to take the lead. The CEC is poised to do so with a rulemaking underway for some of these products. Mr. Cooper states: "The sooner the CEC starts the proceeding, the sooner consumers will start saving money." 
What's Up at DOE? DOE seal
The following DOE activities are in addition to those described in the articles above.

Automatic Commercial Icemakers
Proposed Rule, March 17, 2014

Commercial Clothes Washers
Proposed Rule, March 4, 2014
Test Procedure Proposed Rule, February 11, 2014
The proposed rule issued by DOE would set the energy and water efficiency levels of top-loading commercial washers at 1.35 modified energy factor (MEF) and 8.8 maximum integrated water factor (IWF). The proposed standards for front-loading machines are 2.0 MEF and 4.1 IWF. A final rule is expected by January 2015. 
Framework Document, February 5, 2014
DOE is initiating a rulemaking to set standards for commercial and industrial air compressors. There are currently no efficiency standards for compressors. DOE is considering setting standards for the compressor "package," which includes the bare compressor and driver as well as any other ancillary equipment. 
Cooking Products
Request for Information, February 12, 2014

Gas range DOE issued a request for information (RFI) as the first step in a rulemaking to consider amended standards for cooking tops and ovens. The current standards prohibit standing pilot lights in gas cooking products. In the RFI, DOE outlines potential technologies that could improve cooking efficiency and reduce standby power consumption for both gas and electric cooking products. DOE found that some ovens consume as much as 10 watts in standby mode, while standards in the EU limit standby power consumption to just 1 watt.


Electric Motors
Test Procedure Final Rule, December 13, 2013
DOE clarified the set-up for testing previously unregulated products and added new definitions for motor types.
Furnace Fans
Test Procedure Final Rule, January 3, 2014

The furnace fans test procedure measures power consumption in three modes of operation: heating, cooling, and constant circulation. There are currently no efficiency standards for furnace fans. DOE issued a proposed rule for standards last fall, and we expect a final rule to be issued this spring.


Packaged Boilers, Commercial

DOE is considering adding a part-load test to the test procedures for commercial boilers to better capture the efficiency of boilers with modulating burners. The current test procedure measures only steady-state efficiency of boilers operating at full load. 


Packaged Terminal Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps

Residential Boilers

Preliminary Analysis, February 11, 2014

DOE published preliminary analysis for amended standards for residential boilers. The current standards are 82% and 84% AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) for gas-fired and oil-fired hot water boilers, respectively. The preliminary analysis shows that condensing-level standards (≥ 90% AFUE) would be cost-effective for consumers. DOE is scheduled to issue a proposed rule in July.

State of the States
us map color
The California Energy Commission (CEC) issued a new timetable for the appliance efficiency standards rulemaking. With California's record-breaking drought making headlines, it's no surprise that the water-using products (faucets, toilets, and urinals) are first on the list. Standards for the water-using products could save 50 billion gallons of water per year. CEC plans to issue draft regulations for these products and for air filters and dimming ballasts next month. CEC will announce webinars and a public comment process once draft regulations are released. 

The timeline for draft regulations for other products is as follows: 
  • LED lamps and multi-faceted reflector lamps - May 2014
  • Pool pump motors and portable electric spas - August 2014 
  • Computers, monitors and displays -  November 2014
  • Network equipment, game consoles and commercial clothes dryers - February 2015
Fun Facts  

Did you guess Atlanta and Boston for the highest per capita sales of energy efficient lighting? If so, you are correct. Rounding out the top ten are: 

  • Miami/Ft. Lauderdale/West Palm Beach
  • Hartford
  • Orlando 
  • Pittsburgh
  • Sacramento
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle
  • Washington D.C. EE lighting map

New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles didn't make the top ten but they did make the top five for total consumption of energy efficient lighting.


Kate Fehrenbacher writes in a Gigacom article that "27 of the top 50 markets offer a rebate for purchasing LEDs or CFLs." 


Click for map

For more info: 

Marianne DiMascio, Appliance Standards Awareness Project


In This Issue
DOE: Three Months - Three Standards
April Showers Will Bring...More DOE Standards
Phase Out Doesn't Phase Consumers
CFA Report Shows 500% Increase in Digital Device Energy Use
What's Up at DOE?
State of the States
Fun Facts
Standards in the News
Seen in the Huffington Post: 
By Seth Shulman, Union of Concerned Scientists 

Set-Top Box Agreement Signed 
Cable box  
On December 23, 2013, efficiency advocates and the pay-television industry signed a voluntary agreement to improve set-top box (STB) efficiency by 10-45% by 2017. DOE and the signatories released details of the agreement in a December press release while  Senator Feinstein, a longtime supporter of increased STB efficiency, issued a press statement. As part of the agreement, the pay-TV companies have agreed to post STB energy consumption information on their websites. Here's an example from CableLabs

In addition, ENERGY STAR is launching a new STB specification which will encourage even larger savings sooner. The ENERGY STAR spec will take effect later this year.  
Survey Shows Broad Support for Energy Efficiency
Support for energy efficiency is broad across demographic and political lines, according to a new survey by NEMA (National Electrical Manufactures Assoc) and NAM (National Assoc of Manufacturers).

In an era when it's hard to agree on anything, 90% of those polled believe it's important to include energy efficiency as part of our country's energy solutions.

See more survey results 
The ASAP Blog
Read our recent blog posts:

Automatic Icemakers Proposed Rule:
Tracking CO2 Reductions and $$ Savings:

External Power Supplies Final Rule:

Metal Halide Lamp Fixtures Final Rule: 
Oscar, Emmy, Grammy, SEADy?
The Super-Efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment (SEAD) market transformation initiative launched a global medal competition to recognize and reward highly-efficient electric motors.  Read more  
Fun Facts 
EE lighting mapAccording to Home Depot 2013 sales data, consumers in two of the five markets below purchased the most CFL and LED bulbs per capita. Which two? 

1. Boston
2. Los Angeles
3. New York City
4. Chicago
5. Atlanta
See answers below.