On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued a new rule that allows companies in several industry sectors to develop their own methods for testing their products’ energy efficiency. Consumer groups called the rule “an invitation for abuse,” The Hill reported.
DOE: new rule for energy efficiency tests
DOE issued on Thursday a new rule that allows companies to develop their own energy efficiency tests. This new regulation contrasts with the current DOE’s rules, which let the agency set forth how companies must test their products to meet energy efficiency standards.
Under the new proposal, companies would be able to develop and manage their own energy-efficiency testing procedures. The new rule would also automatically allow companies to have their petitions granted if the agency does not respond in a 45-days lapse.
Andre deLaske, Appliance Standards Awareness Project Director, said in a statement, “the new rule opens the door to unscrupulous manufacturers skirting the rules and selling products that use more energy than competing products that follow the rules.”
Besides, deLaske stressed any manufacturer, under no conditions, “should be waived from federal test procedure requirements simply by the passage of time.” The executive director added companies should get an affirmative response from the DOE first, before starting to use different testing methods.
Experts have expressed their concern since the rule would apply to every kind of product, from refrigerator motors to lightbulbs to air-conditioners.
On the other hand, primary lighting, home appliances, and plumbing products manufacturers largely supported the initiative when it was first proposed. The rule had just a 30-day window for DOE to respond; the regulation’s advocates argued this timeline would provide certainty to companies and speed up the agency’s decisions.
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DOE is working to approve another regulation that, in this regard, would create a new class of quick-cycle washers and dryers. This rule would allow companies to meet lower energy efficiency standards.
The agency is also working on a showerhead rule that would allow companies to comply with lower energy efficiency and water-saving standards. With the proposed regulation, different showerhead devices would extend the current 2.5 gallons flow per minute limitation.