Democrats and far-left environmental organizations want to regulate a variety of common household appliances in order to advance their larger electrification and climate change agendas.
The effort to regulate relatively common appliances, such as water heaters, furnaces, clothes washers, dishwashers, ceiling fans, microwave ovens, and shower heads, comes as Democratic lawmakers and the Biden administration continue to set ambitious net-zero and climate goals for weaning off our reliance on fossil fuels.
Environmentalists have stated that electrification, prohibiting natural gas hookups, and putting rigorous energy efficiency requirements in place could help hasten the reduction of emissions.
“There’s bad news for almost every room in the house. Climate activists and the Biden administration want homeowners to stop using natural gas and to electrify everything. That would affect appliances that come in natural gas and electric versions such as stoves, but also heating systems and water heaters. So, there are efforts underway to tilt the balance in favor of electric versions even though natural gas is considerably cheaper on a per-unit energy basis. It makes sense to give consumers that choice rather than force them towards electric,” Senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute Ben Lieberman said.
President Biden signed an executive order ordering the Department of Energy to substantially alter current appliance regulation rules and standards established by the Trump administration on his first day in office in January 2021. A month later, the government announced that it will evaluate more than a dozen energy efficiency regulations that apply to items like water heaters, kitchen equipment, and lighting.
The Biden administration is moving forward with regulations affecting dozens more appliances, including refrigerators, boilers, and air conditioners, according to the federal Unified Agenda, a government-wide, semiannual list that highlights regulations agencies plan to issue within the next 12 months. The Department of Energy recently proposed new rules for light bulbs, raising the minimal levels of efficiency.
Additionally, Democratic senators have urged the administration to establish these regulations even more quickly. Last year, almost 50 Senate and House Democrats signed a letter that was spearheaded by Senators Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Peter Welch of Vermont, alerting Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm to the prevalence of inefficient appliances that release “excess greenhouse gases.”