The Energy Department wants to roadblock no-brainer standards that save electricity

Credit: Kari Shea

Energy efficiency standards lack the green glitz factor of electric cars and solar energy, but they're one of the most powerful tools for reducing planet-warming carbon emissions. They work and make sense—which apparently makes them a target for the Trump administration. The U.S. Department of Energy wants to change its procedure for adopting new efficiency standards on more than 60 categories of appliances and equipment (think refrigerators, air conditioners, industrial boilers, etc.), slowing down a process that has worked well for years to save American consumers trillions of dollars on their energy bills.

But that's not all. The DOE also proposes to dramatically limit which lightbulbs must meet the efficiency standards that are set to take effect in January. The bulb standards would’ve essentially prohibited the sale of inefficient halogens and incandescents, filling the market instead with more efficient and long-lasting LEDs. As much as 90 percent of the energy used by halogens and incandescents gets lost as heat (which is why they’re often so hot to the touch). All that waste adds up: The rise in electricity consumption that the proposed rollback would cause would require the equivalent of what 25 coal-burning power plants produce each year—enough to power all the households in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.


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