Regulation Database – Department of Energy

Regulatory Actions

Plans, Guidance, and Recommendations


Energy Efficiency Standards for Appliances and Equipment

The Department of Energy (DOE), through the Buildings Technologies Office, sets minimum energy efficiency standards for approximately 60 categories of appliances and equipment used in homes, businesses, and other applications, as required by existing law. The appliances and equipment covered provide services that are used by consumers and businesses each day, such as space heating and cooling, refrigeration, cooking, clothes washing and drying, and lighting. DOE’s minimum efficiency standards significantly reduce U.S. energy demand, lower emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants, and save consumers billions of dollars every year, without lessening the vital services provided by these products. In addition, DOE implements laws designed to limit the water consumption of several plumbing products. Fact Sheet >>

For regulations pertaining to appliance standards and test procedures, see CFR Title 10, Chapter II, Part 430; for commercial and industrial equipment standards and test procedures, see Title 10, Chapter II, Part 431; for certification, compliance, and enforcement standards, see Title 10, Chapter II, Part 429.

Deregulatory Action: On January 20, 2017, the Trump Administration issued a Presidential Memorandum entitled “Regulatory Freeze Pending Review” which directs all agencies to postpone the publication of new and pending regulations in order to give the new administration time to review those regulations. More info >>

The memorandum indefinitely postpones the publication of four energy efficiency standards finalized by the Department of Energy (DOE) in December 2016 as part of the Energy Conservation Program (these standards have not yet been published in the Federal Register and thus had to be withdrawn for review). These include:

Shortly after the memorandum was issued, DOE also postponed the effective date of certain energy efficiency standards that had already been published in the Federal Register until March 21, 2017:

Update: On March 20, 2017, DOE further postponed the effective date of test procedures for walk-in coolers and freezerscentral air conditioners and heat pumps, and compressors, and conservation standards for ceiling fans.

On May 24, 2017, DOE published a notice announcing that the standards for ceiling fans would go into effect on September 30, 2017.

Litigation: On April 3, 2017, a coalition of states filed a lawsuit challenging the administration’s decision to delay the energy efficiency standards for ceiling fans. The plaintiffs included California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New York State, New York City, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington, and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. The same coalition also submitted a 60-day notice to DOE regarding to the failure to promulgate publish final standards for compressors, walk-in coolers and freezers, power supply equipment, portable air conditioners, and commercial boilers.


Energy Efficiency and Management Standards for Federal Buildings

The DOE Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) updates energy efficiency standards for federal buildings, as required under the Energy Conservation & Production Act (ECPA). (42 USC 6834 & 6835):

Commercial: Current Standard is the ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1-2013 (effective Jan. 5, 2016). The full requirements for federal commercial buildings are contained in 10 CFR 433.

Residential: Current Standard is the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) (effective Aug.10, 2012). The full requirements for federal residential buildings are included in 10 CFR 435. On January 10, 2017, DOE published a final rule to update the energy efficiency standards for federal low-rise buildings. However, due to the deregulatory action noted below, this rule has not yet taken effect.

Deregulatory Action: On February 6, 2017, DOE postponed the effective date of energy efficiency standards that had already been published in the Federal Register until March 21, 2017. One of the postponed rules was the Energy Efficiency Standards for the Design and Construction of New Federal Low-Rise Residential Buildings’ Baseline Standards Update, 82 Fed. Reg. 2857 (Jan. 10, 2017). On March 20, 2017, DOE announced that the effective date of the energy efficiency standards would be further postponed to allow additional time for review. The standards for new federal low-rise residential buildings were postponed until September 30, 2017.


Proposed Rule Requiring Reductions in Federal Building Consumption of Fossil Fuel-Generated Energy

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) published in the October 15, 2010 Federal Register a notice of proposed rulemaking to implement provisions of the Energy Conservation and Production Act (ECPA), as amended by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), that require the DOE to establish revised performance standards for the construction of all new federal buildings, including commercial buildings, multi-family high-rise residential buildings, and low-rise residential buildings and federal buildings undergoing major renovations.  This proposed rule would amend certain portions of 10 CFR parts 433 and 435, the regulations governing energy efficiency in federal buildings. The proposed rule establishes a methodology for compliance including the calculation of the maximum allowable fossil fuel-generated energy consumption based on building type and how fossil fuel consumption resulting from electricity usage should be considered.

In October 2014, DOE issued a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking to respond to comments and request new comments on certain matters.


Proposed Rule Requiring Federal Agencies to Reduce Petroleum Consumption

On March 12, 2012 the Department of Energy issued a proposed rule requiring Federal agencies to reduce the quantity of petroleum used by their vehicle fleets by 20 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2015 and increase their use of alternative fuels by 10 percent over 2005 levels by 2015.  The rule implements requirements in Section 142 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.  The rule would apply to all Federal agencies, including major energy consumers such as the Department of Defense and the U.S. Postal Service.


DOE Shale Gas Production Subcommittee: Final Recommendations on Regulating Shale Gas Development

On November 18, 2011 the Shale Gas Subcommittee of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board released a final report identifying twenty implementation measures that can be taken to reduce the environmental impact and to help assure the safety of shale gas production. Among other measures, the report recommends that EPA expand proposed emission standards for oil and gas sector to include regulation of methane emissions from existing shale gas production facilities, and take action to address water quality concerns relating to shale gas production before completing its planned three-year study of shale gas wastewater discharges.  The report also urged EPA, DOE, and the Department of Interior to coordinate support for research and development efforts on shale gas.


Proposed Rule Requiring Federal Agencies to Reduce Petroleum Consumption

On March 12, 2012 the Department of Energy issued a proposed rule requiring Federal agencies to reduce the quantity of petroleum used by their vehicle fleets by 20 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2015 and increase their use of alternative fuels by 10 percent over 2005 levels by 2015.  The rule implements requirements in Section 142 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.  The rule would apply to all Federal agencies, including major energy consumers such as the Department of Defense and the U.S. Postal Service.



Environmental Justice Strategy

This 2016 DOE Environmental Justice Strategy provides a road map for the Department’s environmental justice goals and objectives and highlights major priorities for the next few years. One of the four key goals articulated in the plan is to minimize climate change impacts on vulnerable populations. This goal is broken down into four objectives: (1) Implement Department of Energy’s responsibilities under the President’s Climate Action Plan to address the needs of vulnerable populations. (2) Minimize the impacts of climate change on vulnerable populations by conducting discovery‐focused research with Moand other research organizations to increase our understanding of matter, materials, and their properties. (3) Reduce the Department’s greenhouse gas emissions while adapting DOE’s programs and operations for enhanced climate change resiliency. (4) Ensure continued engagement of local communities and stakeholders in the   beneficial reuse process

 

« Climate Regulation Database