This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

January 02, 2008

Energy Act Creates New Energy Efficiency Standards

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, signed into law on December 19th, phases out the use of inefficient incandescent lights and imposes improved energy efficiency standards on a wide variety of products. According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the new standards for light bulbs require them to use about 20%-30% less energy by 2014, while requiring DOE to set standards for light bulbs to cut their energy use at least 35% by 2020. The ACEEE notes that the initial targets could be met with compact fluorescent lamps and advanced incandescent lamps that combine halogen capsules with infrared-reflective coatings, while the 2020 standards will encourage the use of LEDs (light-emitting diodes) and other advanced lighting technologies. The Alliance to Save Energy (ASE) calls the act "the most significant energy-efficiency legislation in three decades" and notes that the lighting standards alone will cut electric bills by $13 billion per year, eliminating the need for 60 mid-sized power plants.

According to ACEEE, the energy act sets new minimum efficiency standards for external power supplies, dishwashers, dehumidifiers, residential boilers, electric motors, and walk-in coolers and freezers. It directs DOE to conduct new rulemakings on residential refrigerators and clothes washers, and allows DOE to expedite rulemakings in cases where a broad consensus exists (a measure requested by DOE last year). It also allows DOE to establish a regional standard for heating products and two regional standards for cooling products, in addition to the national standard. Such regional standards will allow DOE to account for significant climate differences throughout the United States. The act also calls for DOE to create a national media campaign to promote the benefits of increased energy efficiency.

For federal buildings, the energy act sets a goal to cut their energy use by 30% by 2015, and requires new and renovated federal buildings to significantly reduce their reliance on energy from fossil fuels. Compared with existing federal buildings, federal buildings built or renovated in 2010 must cut their fossil-fuel dependency by 55%, and by 2030, new or renovated federal buildings must eliminate their use of fossil fuel energy. It also permanently authorizes the use of Energy Saving Performance Contracts, updates the authorization for DOE's Industrial Technologies Program, authorizes a Commercial Building Initiative, and contains new provisions to promote combined heat and power, recycled energy, and district energy systems. See the ASE and ACEEE press releases, the energy act summary from ACEEE, and Titles III, IV, V, and VIII of the new energy act on the Library of Congress Web site.