The Biden administration has announced new environmental regulations targeting popular home and commercial appliances.
According to a report by Fox News on Friday, December 29, 2023, the Department of Energy (DOE) finalized energy efficiency standards for residential refrigerators and freezers, while proposing standards for commercial fans and blowers.
Federal officials assert that these measures will reduce carbon emissions by 420 million metric tons over the next 30 years and save consumers $5 billion annually on utility bills.
The media outlet reported that Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm emphasized the administration’s commitment to lowering utility costs and combating the climate crisis.
Granholm stated, “Today’s announcement is a testament to the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to lowering utility costs for working families, which is helping to simultaneously strengthen energy independence and combat the climate crisis.”
The DOE’s standards for refrigerators and freezers are set to be implemented between 2029 and 2030, marking the first update in over a decade.
The updated standards aim to remove less efficient but cheaper models from the market, ultimately eliminating emissions equivalent to the combined annual emissions of 12.7 million homes over three decades.
Furthermore, the standards for commercial fans and blowers represent the first-ever federal regulations targeting these appliances. Following California’s lead, the proposed standards are expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 318 million metric tons over the next 30 years.
However, not everyone supports these measures. Ben Lieberman, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, voiced concerns about the diminishing returns of such regulations.
He argued that consumers are capable of making their own decisions regarding energy-efficient appliances and that these standards force choices on everyone, potentially raising upfront costs without proportional energy savings.
“What these standards do is they force that choice on everyone, whether it makes sense for them or not. And we know from history that, in some cases, these standards raise the upfront cost more than you’re likely to earn back in the form of energy savings,” he told Fox News Digital.
Lieberman also cautioned that the new efficiency standards might adversely affect product performance.
Using dishwashers as an example, he highlighted that standards implemented in the past have led to longer cycle times, potentially impacting user experience.
The Biden administration’s push for energy efficiency has been an ongoing effort, with the DOE revealing that a total of 30 regulations were proposed or finalized in 2023 as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda.
These actions, according to the agency, underscore the administration’s commitment to addressing the climate crisis and are expected to yield nearly $1 trillion in consumer savings while reducing emissions by 2.5 billion metric tons.
Despite the administration’s optimistic projections, critics like Lieberman have consistently warned that such energy efficiency initiatives may have unintended consequences.
The concern revolves around the potential impact on consumers, as manufacturers may be compelled to adopt newer and more expensive technologies to meet the stringent standards, possibly driving prices higher.