New standards for more energy efficient appliances and lighting have taken effect and the savings on utility bills for many businesses and commercial buildings will be substantial. The widest reaching change will be to the energy efficiency standards for fluorescent tube lights.
According to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), there are 2 billion fluorescent tube lights in use nationwide with each commercial building using around 300 of them on average. The new standards took effect on January 26th and require that new fluorescent tube lights be 23% more efficient than the ones sold before 2012. The Appliance Standards Awareness Project estimates the savings to be between $2 billion to $5.5 billion over the next 30 years.
New energy efficiency standards are also going into effect for different commercial and household appliances. These new standards will save business owners, building owners, homeowners, and even tenants energy and money. The new standards going into effect are for the following 4 appliances:
- Clothes Washers - The new efficiency standards for clothes washers will help save on both energy use and water use. Clothes washers will now use 18% less energy and 23% less water than the models sold under the most recent standards. These represent significant savings for apartment buildings, laundromats, and hotels but also for any commercial building that uses clothes washers.
- Battery Chargers - The new standards for battery chargers take effect on June 13th of this year and will require that all chargers manufactured or imported be 10% more efficient than previously required. Battery chargers are often overlooked as energy consuming aplliances but these new standards will still save 500 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually which is enough power to supply 100,000 people for an entire year.
- Rooftop Air Conditioners - On January 1st of this year the new standards for rooftop air conditioners took effect. The NRDC has labeled this the most powerful efficiency standard yet released by the Department of Energy (DOE). The DOE estimates that by 2047 the new standard will save as much energy as all the coal burned for electricity nationwide. The new energy efficiency standard should also save businesses a jaw-dropping $50 billion over the next 30 years.
- Commercial Ice Makers - While the new standards for commercial ice makers will not save as much energy or money as the previous 3 appliance standards, businesses will still be happy with the savings they see. The new standards require that commercial ice makers use 10% to 25% less energy. This will save business nationwide $942 million over the next 30 years and a typical business owner will see savings of up to $800 over the life of the ice maker.
Energy efficiency standards will continue to save owners and consumers energy and money on their utility bills. The reductions in energy use are also contributing to the proliferation of green buildings and zero-net energy buildings, which will be key in the fight to curb climate change. Business and building owners should be leveraging their local utilites incentive and rebate programs to get new appliances that adhere to these standards so they can reap the benefits. While these new standards will lead to more energy efficient appliances and lighting, more can still be done and the hope is that future energy efficiency standards will reduce energy use even further.