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Appliance Efficiency Regulations

Savings Category 
Other EE
Program Info
Sector Name 
Program Type 
Appliance/Equipment Efficiency Standards

Note: The federal government has imposed and updated appliance efficiency standards through several legislative acts,* and now has standards in place or under development for 30 classes of products. In general, states which had set standards prior to federal action may enforce their own standards until the federal standards take effect. States that had not set standards prior to federal action must use the federal standards. This summary addresses (1) state appliance standards that will be in place until the federal standards take effect and (2) products for which the federal government is not currently developing an efficiency standard. Much of the information in this summary comes from the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP). Visit the ASAP web site for comprehensive information about appliance standards.

California’s 2009 Appliance Efficiency Regulations (California Code of Regulations, Title 20, Sections 1601 through1608) were adopted by the California Energy Commission (CEC) on December 3, 2008, and approved by the California Office of Administrative Law on July 10, 2009, replacing all previous versions of the regulations. The Regulations create standards for twenty-three categories of appliances, including standards for both federally-regulated and non-federally-regulated appliances. Of these products, the standards now apply to the following types of new products sold, offered for sale in California, except those sold wholesale in California for final retail sale outside the state and those designed and sold exclusively for use in recreational vehicles or other mobile equipment. The dates in parenthesis indicate the year the regulations take effect.

  1. Consumer audio and video products (2006/2007)
  2. Pool pumps (2006/2008/2010)
  3. General service incandescent light bulbs (2011)
  4. Portable lighting fixtures (2010)
  5. Water dispensers (2003)
  6. Hot tubs (portable electric spas) (2009)
  7. Commercial hot food holding cabinets (2006)
  8. Under cabinet fluorescent lamps (2006)
  9. Vending machines (2006)
  10. Wine Chillers (2003)
  11. Televisions (2011)
  12. Small battery chargers that are consumer products (for cell phones, personal care devices, and power tools) (2/1/2013)
  13. Large Industrial battery chargers and USB charger systems with a battery capacity of 20 Wh or more that are consumer products (1/1/2014)
  14. Small battery chargers that are not consumer products (for items such as walkie talkies and portable barcode scanners) (1/1/2017)

Dates listed above in parenthesis signify the standard’s effective date. Where more than one date is shown, the standard has more than one level or components which become effective on different dates. See regulations for specific types of appliances covered under these categories. Product-specific testing, certification, and labeling requirements are outlined in the regulations. 

California was the first state to initiate appliance efficiency standards in 1974 with the adoption of the Warren-Alquist Act, which instructed the CEC to promulgate efficiency standards. California has continued to upgrade its standards to remain consistent with new technologies. Most state standards programs have used California’s covered products, or a subset of these products, and its technical procedures as the basis for their efforts. California continues to lead the nation by being the first state to develop efficiency standards for certain televisions.

* These acts include the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act of 1987, the Energy Policy Act of 1992, the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.