Biden Energy Department Starts Crackdown On Dishwashers

Biden Energy Department Starts Crackdown On Dishwashers
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Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm announced new efficiency regulations for dishwashers, beverage vending machines, and electric motors on Friday, the latest of several actions from the Biden administration to decrease power usage and combat climate change.

An announcement contended that the restrictions would decrease expenses for American consumers due to lowered energy consumption. Granholm said the administration is “using all of the tools at our disposal to save Americans money while promoting innovations that will reduce carbon pollution and combat the climate crisis.”

New dishwashers imported into the United States beginning in 2027 would have to consume 27% less power and use 34% less water, while more compact models would need to implement a 22% power reduction and an 11% water use reduction, according to an analysis of the proposal released by Bloomberg Law. Energy Department officials estimate that consumers would have to spend $15 more for a new dishwasher but would witness three times as much in energy savings over the appliance’s lifetime.

The new dishwasher standards would save households $168 million each year on utility bills, according to an estimate from the Energy Department. The regulations for electric motors, which convert electrical energy into mechanical energy in manufacturing and process equipment, will save businesses $464 million annually, while the vending machine rules will save $20 million annually.

The Energy Department has now introduced efficiency crackdowns for 16 product categories in 2023, actions which agency officials contend are “preserving reliability and performance across household appliances and commercial and industrial equipment.” The Biden administration, which has established a “whole-of-government effort” to reduce carbon emissions, drafted several similar regulations over the past two years.

Officials provoked controversy upon introducing new emissions rules for natural gas stoves, even as increased adoption of the fuel serves as a significant driver of lower emissions in the United States. Controversy over the move emerged earlier this year when Consumer Product Safety Commission Commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. said in an interview that gas stoves are a “hidden hazard” and declared that “any option is on the table” for a nationwide ban. Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman Alex Hoehn-Saric later posted a statement asserting that neither he nor the agency planned to outlaw gas stoves.

The state of New York has since approved legislation that will effectively ban the installation of gas stoves in new homes and buildings as early as 2026. Some 38% of households nationwide use gas stoves for cooking, with the figure approaching 70% for states such as California and New Jersey, according to data from the Energy Information Administration.

The Energy Department also unveiled new efficiency standards for air conditioners and the first federal standards for portable air cleaners. Officials similarly introduced a final rule that requires single-section and multi-section mobile homes to meet new climate-dependent energy conservation measures, which are estimated to raise the cost of large mobile homes between $4,100 and $4,500, marking a significant increase from the $81,400 average costs for newly manufactured mobile homes, according to data from the Census Bureau.

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