Today, President Barack Obama signed a presidential memorandum "requesting that the Department of Energy set new efficiency standards for common household appliances," according to his statement this afternoon at the Department of Energy.
Earthjustice has challenged in court weak energy efficiency standards proposed by the Bush administration for home furnaces and electricity distribution transformers. Most recently, we have closely followed a proposal released last month by the DOE on energy efficiency standards for linear fluorescent light tubes, such as those commonly found in offices.
The following statement is from Earthjustice attorney Tim Ballo:
"President Obama’s commitment to establish new energy efficiency standards for common household appliances is a positive step towards reducing our electricity consumption, saving Americans billions of dollars on their monthly electricity bills, and curbing global warming pollution. This is the kind of leadership America has been waiting for, and we applaud the President’s efforts to prioritize this important body of work.
"Earthjustice has challenged in court weak standards issued by the Bush administration in the past, which President Obama can immediately resolve by simply agreeing to review the standards and strengthen them as necessary to comply with the law.
"Another immediate step the Department of Energy can take would be to strengthen energy efficiency standards proposed on January 15 for incandescent reflector lamps and linear fluorescent lamps. According to the DOE, about 500 million general service fluorescent lamps are sold annually in the U.S., most for lighting offices. About 265 million reflector lamps are sold each year, split between homes and commercial buildings such as retail stores, but DOE’s proposal fails to cover some of the most popular models of these reflector lamps. For linear fluorescent lamps alone, higher efficiency standards could save, over 30 years, enough electricity to meet the power needs of 10 to 50 million U.S. households and save consumers and businesses between $11 billion to $26 billion.
"The potential energy and cost savings we can achieve with more energy efficient appliances and products such as refrigerators, air conditioners, clothes washes and dryers, and nearly two dozen other products is staggering. President Obama’s memorandum today is marching us towards greater energy independence, a cleaner energy future and a stronger economy. We sincerely hope his leadership on this important issue continues with strong energy efficiency standards that follow the law and recognize real savings."