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Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

Printable Version
Federal Appliance Standards   

Last DSIRE Review: 12/19/2012
Program Overview:
State: Federal
Incentive Type: Appliance/Equipment Efficiency Standards
Eligible Efficiency Technologies: Clothes Washers, Dishwasher, Refrigerators, Dehumidifiers, Ceiling Fan, Water Heaters, Lighting, Furnaces , Boilers, Heat pumps, Central Air conditioners, Motors, Exit and traffic signs, unit heaters, transformers, others
Applicable Sectors: Industrial, (Product Manufacturers)
Equipment RequirementsSpecified in Code of Federal Regulations
Test MethodsVaries
Implementing AgencyU.S. Department of Energy
Web Site:
Authority 1:
42 USCS ยง 6291, et seq.
Authority 2:
10 CFR 430
Authority 3:
10 CFR 431
Authority 4:
Date Enacted:
HR 6582

Note: HR 6582 of 2012 made some modifications to the efficiency standards previously adopted for some appliance types. The bill did not adopt new standards for previously unregulated appliances, but made some minor changes to the requirements for walk-in coolers, walk-in freezers, water heaters, self-contained medium temperature commercial refrigerators, central air conditioners, and heat pumps. The bill also included some non-substantive technical corrections.

Minimum standards of energy efficiency for many major appliances were established by the U.S. Congress in the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) of 1975, and have been subsequently amended by succeeding energy legislation, including the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is required to set appliance efficiency standards at levels that achieve the maximum improvement in energy efficiency that is technologically feasible and economically justified. The DOE web site lists updates and final rulings for 23 residential product categories and 18 commercial product categories.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), established new standards for a few equipment types not already subjected to a standard, and updated some existing standards. Perhaps the most discussed new standard that EISA 2007 established is for general service lighting which will be deployed in two phases. First, by 2012-2014 (phasing in over several years), common light bulbs will be required to use about 20-30% less energy than present incandescent bulbs. Second, by 2020, light bulbs must consume 60% less energy than today's bulbs. This requirement will effectively phase out the incandescent light bulb.

The president issued a Memorandum for the Secretary of Energy in February of 2009 requesting the DOE take all necessary steps to finalize outstanding efficiency standards as expeditiously as possible. Such standards include those with deadlines prior to and including August 8, 2009. The memorandum also calls on the DOE to prioritize the development of efficiency standards for the remaining product categories based on energy savings. Standards that will result in the greatest energy savings should be developed first, however, the DOE must ensure that it meets applicable deadlines for all standards.

Note: Several states have adopted their own appliance standards. Under the general rules of federal preemption, states which had set standards prior to federal enactment may enforce their state standards up until the federal standards become effective. States that have not set standards for a product category that is now enforced by the federal government are subject to the federal standard immediately.

  Public Information - DOE
U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Building Technology Assistance
1000 Independence Avenue, EE-42
Washington, DC 20585
Phone: (877) 337-3463
Web Site:
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Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

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