Federal Appliance Standards
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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 and The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA).
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 website lists updates and final rulings for 25 consumer product categories, 26 commercial and industrial product categories, 15 lighting product categories, and 5 plumbing product categories.
Note: Several states have adopted their own appliance standards. Under the general rules of federal preemption, federal standards for a certain product category preempt a state's standards, even in cases where the state standard is more stringent. States which had set standards prior to federal enactment may enforce their state standards up until the federal standards become effective for that product. 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.