The Energy Policy and Conservation Act, which gives the federal government the authority to set energy conservation standards for appliances, needs critical reforms. EPCA has not been updated since 1987, and the law must be changed to acknowledge the massive efficiency improvements that appliance innovations that manufacturers have achieved over the past 35 years.
EPCA requires the U.S. Department of Energy to conduct regular reviews of appliance standards. The law does not require regulators to tighten those standards. However, in most cases, those reviews have led to tighter standards. Federal appliance standards, combined with significant manufacturer innovations, have brought most regulated home appliances to or near peak energy efficiency. We have reached the limit on advancing efficiency and maintaining high performance, functionality and affordability. EPCA, the underlying law, should be modernized to keep pace with appliance innovation and efficiency.
AHAM believes federal standards should be driven by opportunities for greater efficiency, not by automatic six-year reviews. In addition, AHAM is seeking several other changes to EPCA, including:
- Appliance test procedures must be finalized before the standards that depend upon them.
- Require changes to standards that are found to be harmful to consumers or the economy.
- The impact of the cumulative regulatory burden on consumer welfare must be considered.
- Require transparency and public engagement during the standards-development process.
These changes will allow EPCA to continue as an effective tool for developing meaningful energy conservation standards.
On September 13, AHAM testified before the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee of the US House of Representatives. AHAM's testimony can be read here.