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Historic Energy Efficiency Rules Would Save Consumers Money and Cut Carbon Emissions

August 29, 2013 - 4:08pm

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If accepted, a new energy efficiency rule on walk-in coolers and freezers proposed by the Energy Department could cut energy bills by up to $24 billion over 30 years. | Photo by Lynn Billman, NREL.

If accepted, a new energy efficiency rule on walk-in coolers and freezers proposed by the Energy Department could cut energy bills by up to $24 billion over 30 years. | Photo by Lynn Billman, NREL.

Editor's note: This article originally appeared on WhiteHouse.gov.

Energy efficiency is one of the clearest and most cost-effective opportunities to save families money, make our businesses more competitive and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In President Obama’s first term, the Energy Department established new minimum efficiency standards for dishwashers, refrigerators and many other products. Through 2030, these standards will cut consumers’ electricity bills by hundreds of billions of dollars and save enough electricity to power more than 85 million homes for two years.

To build on this success, the President set a new goal in his Climate Action Plan: Efficiency standards for appliances and federal buildings set in the first and second terms combined will reduce carbon pollution by at least 3 billion metric tons cumulatively by 2030 -- equivalent to nearly one-half of the carbon pollution from the entire U.S. energy sector for one year -- while continuing to cut families’ energy bills.

Today, the Energy Department is taking steps towards achieving this new goal by issuing two proposed rules that could cut energy bills by up to $28 billion and cut emissions by over 350 million metric tons of CO2 over 30 years. This reduction in CO2 emissions would be the equivalent of taking nearly 109 million new cars of the road for one year. Or put another way, the energy saved from these proposed rules would be equal to the amount of electricity used by 50 million homes in a year.

One of these proposed rules would improve energy efficiency standards for commercial refrigeration equipment, such as restaurant-size fridges or the deli case at a convenience store. This proposed rule could, if adopted as final, cut energy bills by up to $4 billion and result in CO2 emissions reductions of 55 million metric tons over 30 years. In addition, the Energy Department is proposing a rule that would improve energy efficiency standards for walk-in coolers and freezers, such as the milk display at the supermarket. If adopted as final, this proposed rule could cut energy bills by up to $24 billion and result in CO2 emissions reductions of 298 million metric tons over 30 years.

These rules will build on recent progress. For example, earlier this month, the Energy Department issued a proposed rule that would revise energy efficiency standards for metal halide lamp fixtures, such as the type of lighting often seen inside big box retail stores and sports stadiums. Taken together, the standards issued during the Administration’s first and second terms so far cut emissions by 1.8 billion tons through 2030. If the three proposed rules issued this month were to be finalized as proposed, taken together with the Administration’s accomplishments to date, we would surpass 60 percent of the President’s goal for emissions reductions from efficiency standards.

Energy efficiency creates jobs, saves money and cuts down on harmful pollution. And that is why we are taking a comprehensive approach, including measures like historic fuel economy standards for cars and trucks that will nearly double the miles you can go on a gallon of gasoline and investments that have led to more than a million homes weatherized across the country. These critical steps bolster the energy productivity of our economy, cut energy costs for American families and businesses and leave a healthier planet for future generations.

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