Murkowski calls for improving energy efficiency

March 19, 2009
11:41 AM
MARCH 19, 2009                                          or ANNE JOHNSON (202) 224-7875     
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today pushed to give the manufacturing industry an expedited process for improving energy efficiency standards for household lighting fixtures and appliances.
Murkowski and Chairman Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., this week introduced the Appliance Standards Improvement Act, S.598, to strengthen and improve two key federal programs that provide consumer savings, reduce the need for new electricity generation and lower the environmental impacts of energy production. 
“Boosting the energy efficiency of appliances is a great way to reduce demand and help solve our energy challenges,” Murkowski said. “Unfortunately, technology has outpaced our ability to set effective standards.”
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) currently reviews efficiency standards every seven years. Under the Appliance Standards Improvement Act, manufacturers could petition DOE to consider updating efficiency standards anytime there was broad consensus amongst the industry, consumer groups, utilities and others.
“Companies are far more likely to invest in updated technology if they don’t have to wait years before their product has a chance of being competitive in the marketplace,” Murkowski said. “We want our manufacturing industry to develop products with the highest energy efficiency rating possible.”
The bill focuses on a new consensus building approach to updating efficiency standards, encouraging manufacturers to agree on new and improved standards. It also establishes new minimum standards for various products, including portable lighting fixtures, and holds DOE accountable for meeting efficiency related deadlines.
According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), in 2001, residential appliances and other energy consuming equipment accounted for about 65 percent of the nation’s electricity consumption.