DOE finalizes energy efficiency standards for household cooking products

Published on January 31, 2024 by Dave Kovaleski

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) finalized its energy efficiency standards for residential cooking appliances.

The standards – which take effect in 2028 — are designed to reduce household utility costs while improving appliance reliability and performance. These standards are projected to save Americans approximately $1.6 billion on their utility bills over 30 years.

“DOE is dedicated to working together with our industry partners and stakeholders throughout 2024 to continue strengthening appliance standards, addressing a backlog of Congressionally mandated energy efficiency actions that is delaying a projected $1 trillion in consumer savings from reaching the American people,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said.

The efficiency standards are for residential cooking products — which include electric and gas cooktop and oven ranges as well as stand-alone electric and gas cooktops and ovens. They align with September 2023 recommendations from a diverse set of stakeholders, including manufacturers, the manufacturing trade association, energy, environmental, and consumer advocacy groups, states, and utility companies. The DOE expects the standards to decrease harmful carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 4 million metric tons cumulatively over 30 years.

Further, the new standards will require only a small portion of models to make modest improvements to their energy efficiency to match the level of efficiency. For example, approximately 97 percent of gas stove models and 77 percent of smooth electric stove models on the market already meet these standards. Compliance will be required by newly manufactured, including imported, models beginning Jan. 31, 2028.

The American Gas Association filed extensive comments that helped to shape this final rule. The association called it a step in the right direction.

“DOE’s initial proposal would have removed 96 percent of natural gas cooktops from the market. AGA engaged heavily throughout this process and was able to flip that ratio to keep 97% of natural gas stoves on the market,” AGA President and CEO Karen Harbert said. “While that is clearly a step in the right direction, AGA remains concerned with DOE’s precedent of establishing efficiency standards with minimal energy savings and just $3 of consumer savings over the lifetime of the appliance.”

In December, AGA was among a group that filed a legal challenge to DOE’s final rule establishing a new energy conservation standard for consumer furnaces. The rule effectively banned the sale of non-condensing natural gas furnaces and impacted 55 percent of U.S. households.

“DOE’s decision makes clear that the department understands they lacked the authority or justification to remove a high percentage of appliances from the market. We appreciate Congress’ willingness to engage in legislation towards this end, hope they will continue to engage, and are optimistic DOE’s newfound recognition will carry over to their other rulemakings on natural gas appliances, including their rule on natural gas furnaces, which risks outlawing millions of existing gas furnaces and forcing customers to more expensive and less efficient electric appliances,” Harbert added.