Biden Administration already making policy changes for climate & energy efficiency standards

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During Trump’s Presidency, the Department of Energy didn’t meet the deadline to review several energy efficiency standards that were due. Biden’s team has already signed to review those policies regarding efficiency in lighting, air conditioning, and appliances, along with re-establishing climate standards.

Columbia University’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law created a database to keep track of the climate change regulations and deregulations following the administration changes. Explained by Climate Law Fellow, Hillary Aidun, “the Climate Reregulation Tracker will follow the Biden administration’s work reinstating and strengthening the regulations, guidance, international commitments, technical documents, and other actions to address climate change that the Trump administration rolled back or eliminated in the past four years.”

Climate Reregulation Tracker
Climate Re-regulation Database provided by Columbia University

You can view these policies in more detail using the links below.

You can keep track of the policies the Trump administration deregulated here.

You can now track the policies the Biden administration re-regulated here.

So far, these are the executive orders the Biden Administration has signed off on, not including the revocation of several orders. The revoked orders include examples such as to eliminate fast-track oil and gas pipelines, offshore drilling, and revoked an executive order that promoted the production and use of domestic fossil fuels.

Date ActionSummary
01-27-2021Government-Wide Climate ActionElevates climate change across the federal government, creates a number of new governmental bodies to address climate change, declares immediate actions to confront climate change, and directs agency heads to take steps to increase renewable energy, decrease fossil fuel production, and prioritize environmental justice.
01-27-2021Re-establishes Science CouncilRe-established the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
01-27-2021Climate ReregulationProtects Public Health and the Environment; Restoring science to tackle the climate crisis.
Small selection of Biden Administration executive orders as of 02/01/2021.

Next on the list of priorities is re-establishing energy efficiency standards. This includes the standard for pushing for energy-efficient light bulbs in place of halogens and incandescents. Although this policy has been successful since it was introduced in 2007 under President Bush, Trump’s Department of Energy determined it is no longer necessary to hold these standards. According to the National Resources Defense Council, rolling back on this regulation could result in 38 million additional tons of carbon dioxide each year, while also preventing American households from saving at least $100 on their electric bills annually. This, along with the fact the average household has 40 lighting sockets, it’s estimated over 1.5 billion of those sockets are still being used by incandescent or halogen bulbs.

The executive director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP), stated in response to DOE’s pushback, “It makes zero sense to eliminate energy-saving light bulb standards that will save households money on electricity bills and cut climate change emissions by reducing the amount of coal and gas burned in power plants. LED light bulbs are a proven, popular product – it’s time for the national minimum standards to catch up to today’s technology.  Instead, the Trump administration is siding with manufacturers that want to keep selling outdated, energy-wasting light bulbs.”

According to Utility Dive, DOE has also decided against expanding the definition of bulbs that would have to meet higher efficiency standards to include other widely-used bulbs like the three-way, flame- or candle-shaped, and globe-shaped bulbs used in bathroom vanities.

energy efficient light bulb
Most common LED light bulb, the A19.

On January 14th 2021, the Trump Administration’s Department of Energy finalized a rule that could prevent future efficiency improvements in gas-fired water heaters, furnaces and boilers by creating two seperate classes — one for appliances without condensing vents and one for appliances without.

These actions are currently being re-evaluated by Biden’s Administration. Here at Energy Efficiency Experts, these policies are important to our small business as they reflect the work we do to help our client’s energy impact as well as the environment.

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Call us at 202-557-9200 or contact us here to schedule a home energy audit. We look forward to working with you!

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