The United States is getting serious about energy saving.The Department of Energy (DOE) oversees and creates rules that govern energy efficiency of both household and commercial products.
In the past six years, the department has ordered 34 new or updated appliance standards, covering more than 40 different types of products. The newest piece of energy efficiency policy was released today, and it’s big, covering commercial air conditioners and furnaces, both major energy users.
The commercial air conditioners, or rooftop units, that are being regulated are most commonly seen in low-rise buildings. It is estimated that units like these cool approximately half of the total national commercial floor space.
This new energy efficiency policy was created with the assistance of major stakeholders, including industry organizations, equipment manufacturers, utilities providers, and efficiency organizations.
The standards set by the new regulation will need to be achieved in two stages. The first, beginning in 2018, deals with an initial efficiency improvement of 13%. Five years later, an additional 15% increase will be required for new units.
With this new standard, it’s estimated that over the lifetime of the product affected, businesses will save $167B on utility bills while reducing pollution by 885 million metric tons. To consider the savings another way – the energy saved would equal to 15 quadrillion British thermal units (BTUs). A BTU is the heat necessary to raise the temperature of a pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.
During the Obama administration, the DOE’s new standards also included updating regulations on commercial refrigeration, electric motors, and fluorescent lamps. In total, it’s expected that nearly $535B will be saved, and emissions reduced by over 2 billion metric tons through 2030, thanks to updated energy efficiency policy.
With the Presidential goal for pollution reduction set at 3 billion metric tons, the DOE is over two-thirds of the way. This goal represents cutting more than a year’s worth of pollution created by the national electricity system.