Washington could join California and Oregon in setting strict efficiency standards for several classes of appliances. House Bill 1100 passed the state House in February and now awaits consideration in the state Senate.
HB 1100 would establish minimum efficiency standards for:
– Battery charging systems in personal appliances
– Double-ended quartz halogen lamps
– Small-diameter directional lamps (MR 16s)
– Some LED lights
– HVAC air filter systems
Sponsored by Rep. Jeff Morris (D-Mount Vernon) and supported by the NW Energy Coalition and allies, HB 1100 passed the House on a 50-47 party-line vote in mid February. It was one of the first bills passed out of either chamber this year.
The bill now awaits a hearing in the Senate Energy, Environment, and Telecommunications Committee, chaired by Sen. Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale). The bill is expected to face tough going in the Republican-controlled Senate given prior opposition to state standards and the party-line vote in the House.
Washington’s proposed standards are based on those adopted or under consideration by the California Energy Commission. The commission found that the average American home has about 11 battery chargers in phones, computers and personal-care items such as toothbrushes and electric razors. Inefficient battery charge systems waste nearly two-thirds of the energy they use, causing customers to pay for thousands of megawatt-hours they don’t actually use.
Higher efficiency standards pay for themselves many times over. For example, engineering an electric toothbrush to meet the standard will cost just 40 cents, while the electric bill savings from that standard will total $1.19 over the life of the device, based on California electricity prices. For laptop computers, engineering to meet the standard will cost 50 cents and yield $9 in lifetime savings — an 18-fold return!
Despite lower power prices, the standards should prove cost-effective in Washington as well.
The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance estimates that the battery charger standards alone will avoid 300,000 megawatt-hours (34 average megawatts) of electricity consumption annually in the state.
For more information, contact NW Energy Coalition policy associate JJ McCoy at firstname.lastname@example.org