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Biden will need to undo rule before setting strong standards

(ACEEE blog, 14 Jan 2021) In its waning days, the Trump administration’s Department of Energy (DOE) today announced a final rule that will keep energy-wasting furnaces, water heaters, and boilers on sale for years to come—if it is not undone.

The rule would block the Biden administration from significantly strengthening efficiency standards for products that are responsible for the largest share of energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions in many homes.

Efficiency standards for home gas furnaces have been stuck since 1987, and home water heater standards since 2010 (DOE has missed legal deadlines for considering updating both). An ACEEE/ASAP report published in November found that these two products are the biggest opportunities for the Biden administration’s DOE to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through efficiency standards.

Strengthening standards for the equipment affected by today’s rule could, by 2035, save households $3 billion annually on their gas utility bills and cut climate change emissions by an amount equal to the total emissions of more than two million typical U.S. homes today, according to the report.

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ACEEE blog, 14 Jan 2021: Biden will need to undo rule before setting strong standards