Energy efficiency standards for facility equipment, such as commercial air conditioners and lighting, is the “top US policy for saving energy in buildings,” says the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). But a new rule passed by the Trump Administration will make it more difficult to set energy-efficiency standards for common equipment.
The Process Rule, approved by the Department of Energy, will require further steps “to an already lengthy standard-setting process,” according to ACEEE. The rule, according to DOE, “modernizes” the standard-setting process, but critics say the rule endangers future administrations’ abilities to update standards.
The new rule sets a minimum savings requirement for any changes to a standard, which ACEEE says will make many energy efficiency standards illegal, even if there is zero cost to implement them. The new rule increases deference to ASHRAE standards for commercial products, rather than DOE standards, which ACEEE says gives manufacturers a disproportionate voice in standards development, allowing them to focus more on cost instead of improving efficiency of products.