New DOE Standards for Commercial Refrigeration Equipment Mean Big Energy Savings

Have you ever walked into a grocery store and thought about how much energy must be wasted through those open-air refrigerators that store dairy products or the freezers you can see into in the ice cream aisle? Unless you’re an energy geek like me, perhaps not. But as you can imagine these types of commercial refrigerators and freezers offer a big opportunity for energy savings. And thanks to new energy efficiency standards recently established by the Department of Energy (DOE), new commercial refrigeration equipment will use up to 40 percent less energy!

These energy savings will add up across the country. Over the 30-year life of the rule, these new standards will save a whopping 2.9 quads, equivalent to about 3 percent of all the energy used in the United States in one year -- or 340 billion kilowatt-hours. They’ll also add up to $12 billion in net energy bill savings and reduce carbon pollution by 142 million metric tons. That’s equivalent to taking 30 million cars off the road for a year!

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These carbon savings are a great addition to those already added to the books this year from energy-saving rules for external power supplies (power brick adapters for our computers, etc.) and metal halide lamps found in warehouses and football fields. Together, these three rules will result in cutting over 75 million metric tons of carbon pollution by 2030 because we won’t need to generate as much electricity from dirty fossil fuels. All these rules are great progress to meeting President Obama’s goal of 3 billion metric tons of carbon pollution reductions by 2030!

We’re delighted to see DOE finalize this rule, which was one of several efficiency standards that were long-delayed. Thanks to advocacy by a group of states, NRDC, and other advocates, last summer DOE committed to meeting deadlines for these standards, and we’re pleased to see the agency follow through on this commitment. Under Secretary Moniz’s leadership, DOE has stayed on track with these deadlines, issuing proposed rules for motors and walk-in coolers and freezers in the fall, in addition to the final rule for metal halide lamp fixtures this year.

DOE will need to keep moving forward to fulfill the president’s Climate Action Plan goals. Earlier this week, DOE also published a proposed rule for commercial clothes washers that will save water in addition to reducing energy waste, and we expect proposed energy-saving rules for commercial automatic icemakers and general service fluorescent lamps and reflector lamps to be issued soon.

It’s great to see DOE making so much progress on efficiency standards that will reduce consumers’ utility bills and create jobs as these savings are spent throughout the economy while taking steps toward fulfilling the president’s Climate Action plan!