It’s easy to lose sight of the government‘s tiny, everyday atrocities in favour of its grander, more spectacular ones. One of these lesser changes was increased scrutiny of energy efficiency regulations in 2022. The newest move on this front was announced on December 19 by the Department of Energy (DOE), and it entails raising the minimum efficiency requirements for lightbulbs.
The administration of Vice President Joe Biden enjoyed the holiday victory party. “Today, the White House and the Department of Energy (DOE) announced that the Biden-Harris Administration has exceeded its goal to take 100 measures in 2022 to increase energy efficiency standards for a range of appliances and equipment to cut costs for American families,” the White House said.
They count the bulb effort as the year’s 110th move. These 110 procedures apply to a wide variety of home and business appliances, including HVAC units, laundry appliances, cooking gadgets, and water heaters. It’s convenient to define an action as anything that a given entity does.
Proposing a rule and settling on a rule are two of the most common forms of activity. An agency’s proposal is the first step in the rulemaking process since it details the agency’s intended actions in developing a new regulation.
On December 19th, for instance, a proposal was made to increase the minimum efficiency requirement for standard light bulbs from 45 to more than 120 lumens per watt. After a period of public comment, during which the agency may receive additional feedback on the proposed change, the agency will take a finalizing action, making the rule a binding law.
The White House describes the 110 measures taken this year as “rulemakings that create the framework for DOE to adopt greater efficiency standards,” including “test methodologies and coverage determinations.”
The new DOE standards’ primary goal is to lower GHG emissions, but the Biden administration claims that complying with these rules will also save families money. The White House estimates that families will save at least $100 per year on energy costs as a result of these policies. Then, what exactly are these endeavours? Now, let’s look at the highlights.
Dishwasher, Laundry Machine, and Dryer Cycle Times (January 12)
An important guideline affecting the length of time it takes for household appliances like washers and dryers to complete their cycles was just recently finalized. Short cycles are more energy costly, thus it was difficult to use these appliances on short cycles before the Trump administration loosened the rules.
In 2020, Trump categorised these appliances so they could avoid such regulations and have shorter cycles. This decision was opposed by the Biden administration, and their final ruling on the matter, published on January 12, 2019, effectively rescinds Trump’s actions and restores the previous classification.
As a result of this change, most people will be able to return to their previously-used lengthier cycle periods for their dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers.
Pool Heaters and AC Units (March 30)
The Department of Energy (DOE) proposed new regulations at the end of March that will raise energy efficiency criteria for home cooling and heating appliances including air conditioners and pool heaters. This translates to a requirement for increased cooling efficiency from new window air conditioners and increased heating efficiency from new pool heaters.
Commercial Water Heaters (May 5)
The Department of Energy proposed new regulations in early May that would increase the standards for commercial water heaters, such as those found in hotels and restaurants. “the proposed requirements would require commercial water heaters to utilize condensing technology,” the DOE says, “which considerably reduces energy usage by extracting more heat from the combustion process.”
The List Goes On…
Throughout the rest of the year, a plethora of other proposals and plans were finalized, such as:
Good Ideas Don’t Require Force
According to official government rhetoric, the new regulations are a huge success. The amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere decreases, and people’s monthly budgets benefit.
A lot, actually.
A straightforward inquiry reveals the flaw in these guidelines. If it’s such a great idea, why aren’t more people implementing it? More efficient appliances tend to be more expensive, which may explain why some individuals are resistant to switching to them.
In spite of the fact that the more efficient appliance will likely save money in the long run, its initial purchase price is typically more than that of the less efficient model. The present is crucial because, despite the potential benefits, in the long run, many people simply cannot afford to pay a large sum of money all at once.
That is to say, it’s feasible that the less priced, less energy-efficient appliance will better meet the needs of consumers. Their selection of the less expensive appliance over the more energy-efficient one is indicative of this. Therefore, the new regulations effectively eliminate the preferred choice among consumers. Customers are stuck with what they see as a subpar option if they can even afford it.
In other words, it takes a law to prevent people from purchasing low-cost appliances, which they would have preferred. This is proven by the fact that minimum efficiency standards have been established. The adage “excellent ideas don’t require force” encapsulates the underlying principle here.
The government shouldn’t have any trouble convincing people to upgrade to a more energy-efficient dishwasher or washing machine if doing so will actually improve their quality of life. But if consumers don’t see the benefit, it’s evident the government needs to step in and force them to.
Indeed, the use of legal coercion is an acknowledgment that the ideology is so unappealing that it requires force to convince others to comply with it. Given the foregoing, claims by the Biden administration that these rules will help ordinary Americans are flat-out false.
It’s possible that emissions may be lowered, but only at the expense of people’s quality of life. And if consumer behaviour is any indication, most Americans agree that the price is not justified. This piece was originally published in the FEE Daily newsletter.
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