Biden Administration Cracks Down on Fans and Blowers in Latest Climate Initiative

The Biden administration’s latest crackdown on appliances is targeting commercial fans and blowers in the name of fighting climate change while also finalizing tough new efficiency standards for residential fridges and freezers. The Department of Energy (DOE) recently released finalized energy efficiency standards for residential refrigerators, freezers, and refrigerator-freezers, which the administration promised would bring savings to households and environmental benefits.

Compliance with the new standards for fridges and freezers (required either in 2029 or 2030, depending on the configuration) will result in carbon dioxide emission reductions of nearly 101 million metric tons over 30 years, per DOE. That’s roughly the equivalent of the combined annual emissions of nearly 13 million homes. In terms of energy savings, the new rules promise to save 5.6 quadrillion British thermal units over 30 years, representing a savings of 11 percent over products currently on the market. That translates to savings of roughly $36.4 billion over three decades.

Besides finalizing stricter standards for fridges and freezers, the DOE also announced proposed new rules for commercial fans and blowers, promising various benefits. The proposed rules are said to cut energy costs for businesses by $3.3 billion per year while cutting carbon emissions by nearly 318 million tons over 30 years.

If eventually adopted, the fan and blower rules will be the first federal energy efficiency standards ever for such products—and the agency is promising even more red tape. “DOE will continue to move quickly in 2024—together with our industry partners and stakeholders—to update and strengthen outdated energy efficiency standards, which is critical to innovation, more consumer options, and healthier communities,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement.

As of Dec. 29, the Biden administration has issued 30 proposed or final energy efficiency standards this year alone, with the DOE saying in a statement that these actions underscore President Joe Biden’s “commitment to tackling the climate crisis.” A consumer watchdog recently estimated that the Biden administration’s war on appliances, in the name of climate change, would cost the average American household more than $9,100—and that calculation doesn’t include the newest curbs on fridges and freezers.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a nonprofit that advocates for limited government, free enterprise, and individual liberty, called the Biden administration’s moves to impose stricter energy efficiency standards on various appliances an “anti-consumer crusade.” Ben Lieberman, a senior fellow at CEI, wrote in a recent op-ed for Fox News that “refrigerator standards are much like dishwashers and clothes washers, where there’ve been so many standards over the decades that we’re either at the point of diminishing returns or negative returns,” adding that there’s a “tendency for the agency’s own analysis to inflate the benefits.”

Mr. Lieberman testified before Congress in November at a House Committee on Small Business hearing titled “Burdensome Regulations: Examining the Effects of Department of Energy Regulations on America’s Job Creators.” He testified that, back in 2018, when a staff member on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and while working on DOE appliance regulations, he found the problem of appliance overregulation already “serious” enough to warrant close scrutiny and pushback.

“He said that each proposed and final rule “threatens higher appliance prices, compromised performance, and reduced choices.” Mr. Lieberman argued that the best type of reform would be to “sunset DOE’s standard-setting authority entirely.”

A consumer watchdog, the Alliance for Consumers, recently estimated that U.S. households would pay a hefty price for the Biden administration’s various strictures on appliances. In an infographic titled “Biden’s Dream Home,” the nonprofit puts price tags on the Biden administration’s various proposals for new energy standards for all kinds of appliances found in homes, including air conditioners, washing machines, and gas stoves.

Overall, the estimated cost of Biden administration policies on the typical U.S. family is $9,166. Gas furnace efficiency standards, which the DOE promises will “significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions” in the residential sector, are estimated to cost consumers an additional $494 on average, according to the consumer watchdog.

Dishwasher efficiency standards, which Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said “will reduce carbon pollution and combat the climate crisis,” will lead to drainage problems and clogging, which the Alliance for Consumers estimates will cost between $50 and $400 to repair. Proposed rules targeting air conditioning refrigerants would “dramatically” raise prices to refill air conditioning units, the watchdog says, estimating the cost to be roughly $1,100.

New energy standards for water heaters would force families to buy models that the Alliance for Consumers estimates are, on average, $2,800 more expensive. Other costs include $25 for ceiling fans, $200 for washing machines, and $140 for light bulbs.


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