Following the precedent of regulations imposed on gas stoves and portable gas generators, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) recently proposed new rules to set energy efficiency criteria for ceiling fans.
The regulation, announced in June by the DOE, would mandate increased efficiency in ceiling fans. Consumers who use a conventional fan could save as much as $39.84 throughout the six to ten-year lifespan of the equipment. An estimated 85 million homes in the United States utilize ceiling fans, with a fifth of those homes having four or more.
Ceiling fans have long been favored as an alternative to costly air conditioning for convenience and low cost. However, the DOE is determined to assist Americans in saving roughly $4 annually via its latest guidelines.
The DOE’s ban on gas stoves also projects sparse savings for consumers. This figure was recently updated to an even lower amount.
The industry group Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) said in an August 3 press release regarding the changes that the DOE’s original proposal was to save consumers 13 cents per month in utility costs over the life span of gas cooking products. The revised data reduces consumer savings to just 9 cents per month.
At 9 cents a month, the projected savings will come to just $1.08 per year, which amounts to $10.80 in savings for ten years.
According to the DOE’s estimates, the cost of compliance with the new ceiling fan requirements could be $86.6 million annually for manufacturers.
Republicans from the House Committee on Small Business sent a letter of criticism to DOE Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm on August 24. The letter focused on the detrimental effects the proposal would have on small businesses in the ceiling fan industry.
“This rule would require numerous small business fan manufacturers to redesign their products and possibly put between 10 and 30 percent of small business ceiling fan manufacturers out of business,” the letter stated.
“The Department of Energy may not have adequately considered small businesses during this rulemaking process. When passing any new regulation, agencies must examine small businesses’ interests, which comprise 99.9% of all businesses in the United States.”
The committee has requested more information from the DOE on the matter, including asking if the agency anticipates the closure of any small businesses due to the proposed rule and if any manufacturers plan to discontinue any product lines to comply with the law.
The committee gave the DOE until August 30 to reply to their request.
According to Fox News, a DOE representative defended the agency’s recent proposal to regulate ceiling fans by noting that the proposed standards, which Congress mandates, won’t go into effect until 2028.
The regulations would give Americans more energy-efficient options and save hardworking taxpayers up to $369 million annually while substantially decreasing harmful air pollution.
However, Oklahoma Republican Stephanie Bice worries about the new regulations’ impact on appliance prices and consumer choice.
“We are currently in a period of hot summer weather but also a time of high inflation. It is immoral that your department would seek to limit the options of the American people to stay cool in their own homes at a time like this,” Bice wrote in an August 25 letter to Ms. Granholm.
“As I write this letter, the current temperature here in Oklahoma City is 103 degrees Fahrenheit. Access to affordable cooling options during these summer months is a serious matter. I strongly oppose this submitted regulation and urge you to withdraw it completely.”
Bice also criticized the Energy Department’s other proposed rules to regulate appliances such as water heaters and gas stoves as a significant federal government overreach.
She added that heavy-handed regulations would raise prices, limit consumer choice, and burden many small businesses.
The ceiling fan regulations are part of the Biden administration’s pro-climate policy push. An executive order signed by President Biden on January 20, 2021, mandated the DOE to create an energy conservation program for appliance standards.
A month later, the agency listed over a dozen energy-efficiency regulations associated with appliances like lamps, cooking products, and water heaters that it would review.
“First, they went after your car. Then, they targeted your gas stoves. Now, they are coming for your ceiling fans. America will continue to reject the Biden Climate Police’s authoritarianism,” Rep. Bill Cline (R-Va.) said in an August 25 post on X.