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01/20/2011 10:35 AM     print story email story  

Industry, Advocacy Groups Petition Energy Star for Smart Appliance Credit News

The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) and efficiency organizations have submitted a petition to the ENERGY STAR program to recognize the benefits of smart appliances.

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) estimates that implementing smart grid technologies could reduce electricity use by more than 4% annually by 2030. Smart appliances can have an even more profound impact on reducing expensive peak demand.

The petition urges the ENERGY STAR program to incorporate a 5% credit to the energy performance level required to meet ENERGY STAR eligibility criteria for smart grid-enabled appliances as soon as possible. AHAM and efficiency organizations agree that the incorporation of this incentive for smart grid-enabled appliances will increase the deployment of these products across the country.

A newly released cost/benefit analysis by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) accompanied the petition, and determined that the annual benefits from having smart grid capabilities in an appliance are greater than the costs of an equivalent 5% increase in operational machine efficiencies.

Specifically, if a consumer chooses, a smart grid-enabled appliance will be able to receive a signal from a utility and automatically adjust its operation to move its electricity use to a better and less expensive time of day. PNNL’s analysis found that smart appliances can be a significant and cleaner alternative to today’s “spinning reserves,” which are power plants that are required to be “idling” and are a wasteful, but necessary, part of today’s electrical grid.

The petition to ENERGY STAR is one of three aspects of an agreement between appliance manufacturers and energy efficiency advocates signed last summer. The other parts of the agreement relate to new, more stringent minimum energy efficiency standards for appliances and tax credits for very high-efficiency tax incentives. The appliance standard proposal is now pending before DOE. The first year of the tax credit proposal was enacted into law in December 2010.

“This petition recognizes the opportunity for smart appliances to contribute to energy efficiency and the smart grid. A credit of 5% is a significant incentive for manufacturers to produce smart appliances and the data show that smart grid-enabled appliances can deliver a greater benefit to the American consumer than the 5% request,” stated Joseph M. McGuire, AHAM’s President.

“The three parts of our agreement with manufacturers are designed to work together to produce large cost-effective energy savings to consumers. ENERGY STAR, the subject of today’s petition, promotes products with above-average energy savings. These are high-efficiency products; today’s petition asks that product intelligence be included as a pathway to achieving energy savings,” said Steven Nadel, ACEEE’s Executive Director.

Besides AHAM and ACEEE, other parties to the agreement are the many companies in AHAM’s major appliance division, Alliance for Water Efficiency, Alliance to Save Energy, Appliance Standards Awareness Project, Consumer Federation of America, National Consumer Law Center, Natural Resources Defense Council, Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships, and Northwest Power and Conservation Council.


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