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Saving Energy, One Soda at a Time

I'm outing myself as a old fogey, but I remember Coke machines like this one. They don't make 'em like that any more—which is a good thing, considering how much energy beverage vending machines use.

As part of its ongoing update of energy efficiency standards for home and commercial appliances, the Department of Energy has issued new rules that will reduce global warming pollution by almost 10 million metric tons over 30 years. That's an energy savings equal to what's used by more than 830,000 American households in a single year, and a carbon dioxide savings equal to that produced by 2 million cars a year.

DOE calculates the net value of energy and CO2 savings as more than $36 million a year. (Footnote for energy wonks: This standard marks the first time DOE has factored in the benefit of reduced carbon emissions, as opposed to savings only on utility bills, showing that the government seems to finally be recognizing that reducing CO2 emissions isn't just an intangible environmental benefit—it also makes economic sense.)

It was a busy week on the efficiency front. After a ruling in Earthjustice's favor by an appeals court, the DOE also agreed to review the energy efficiency standards for electricity distribution transformers, the gray boxes mounted on utility poles. California, New York, Connecticut and New Jersey, and the city of New York filed similar lawsuits. DOE says the new transformer standards will save consumers $75 billion over 30 years and eliminate the need for seven new large power plants.