- Updated energy efficiency standards for window unit air conditioners and portable air purifiers are expected to save consumers approximately $1.5 billion annually on their electricity bills, the U.S. Department of Energy said Thursday.
- Rules covering air purifiers come into effect in 2024 and were finalized under a consensus agreement among manufacturers, efficiency and consumer advocates, states and utilities. New standards for air conditioners take effect in 2026.
- Efficiency standards for room air conditioners have been updated multiple times and DOE says a typical unit today uses 39% less energy than one did in 1990. Standards for new air purifiers will provide 27% in energy savings, the agency estimated.
The Biden DOE continues to make progress on new energy efficiency standards, catching up on a backlog of dozens of missed deadlines that built up during the former administration.
The federal government’s Appliance and Equipment Standards Program reviews efficiency requirements every six years. In February, DOE proposed new energy efficiency standards for refrigerators and clothes washers.
The standards finalized last week will save consumers about $25 billion over three decades, DOE estimates.
The federal government will continue engaging with the public and private sector “to finalize additional proposals like today’s that lower household energy costs and deliver the safer, healthier communities,” DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement.
The new standards for window air conditioners and air purifiers are the first appliance efficiency standards developed and finalized by the Biden administration, according to Andrew deLaski, executive director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project.
The new standards will make it more affordable to cool homes and maintain clean air while reducing the need for new power plants. “These are common sense steps that will ensure consumers don’t get stuck with outdated, energy-wasting technology,” deLaski said.
DOE expects the standards to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 106 million metric tons over 30 years.
The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers in December announced its support for a national standard for air purifiers, but told DOE it had concerns about stricter standards for air conditioners.
“AHAM is concerned that, should energy conservation standards increase cost beyond an unacceptable level ... certain low-income consumers would no longer be able to afford to purchase these products upon which they rely to cool their homes,” the manufacturers group said in comments filed in 2020.
AHAM did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the finalized regulations for room air conditioners.