NEMA Supports Appliance Standards Bill

In testimony before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Kyle Pistor, National Equipment Manufacturers' Association vice president for Government Relations, supported legislation to improve the operation and efficacy of the federal government’s appliance standards and Energy Star® programs.

Pitsor stressed the need for the two programs to work hand-in-hand to advance the use of energy-efficient products and technologies.

"Many energy-efficient technologies exist, and what we all must strive for is wider recognition, deployment, and use of today’s state-of-the-art products and support of emerging technologies," Pitsor said.

The hearing focused on The Appliance Standards Improvement Act of 2009 (S. 598), legislation introduced March 16 by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM).

During the hearing, Pitsor recommended that solid state lighting (SSL) Energy Star program activities be centralized under the Department of Energy, rather than both the DOE and the Environmental Protection Agency operating separate programs. "Given the significant investments that companies are making in SSL technologies, we cannot afford market confusion and competing government programs," Pitsor noted. Both agencies have issued differing specifications in the past year, according to the NEMA press release.

The appliance standards program is operated by DOE and establishes mandatory federal efficiency standards on a range of consumer products and industrial equipment. The Energy Star program includes a product labeling program for more than 50 product categories and is administered by DOE and EPA.

Among other provisions, the legislation would:

  • Establish deadlines for review of the Energy Star specifications once every three years.
  • Set deadlines on responding to petitions of the DOE regarding amending standards and test procedures.
  • Establish for the first time federally mandated efficiency standards for portable light fixtures (table lamps).
  • Require a study on improvements to compliance and enforcement of the federal efficiency standards.
  • Direct DOE to conduct a motor-driven systems-market assessment.
  • Make recommendations for improved efficiency deployment of motor-driven systems.
  • Study the efficiency opportunities related to direct current supply to buildings.

Pitsor also noted the importance of having robust national efficiency standards with federal pre-emption on regulated products. "Products are manufactured and distributed on a national basis, and it is key that energy conservation regulation occur at the federal level" in order to prevent a patchwork of conflicting state requirements. Pitsor also noted the hope that negotiations aimed at establishing energy-efficiency standards for outdoor lighting could be completed satisfactorily and included in the final legislation, along with a number of technical corrections to the Energy Security and Independence Act of 2007 that impact lighting and electric motor products.