In announcing the proposal, Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Jennifer Granholm argued that the Biden administration is "using all of the tools" available to "reduce carbon pollution and combat the climate crisis."
The new efficiency standards will limit water usage and energy consumption for new dishwashers. Bloomberg Law reported that if the proposal gets implemented, dishwashers would have to use 27 percent less power and 34 percent less water. For more compact models, the mandatory reductions are 22 percent for power and 11 percent for water.
The Energy Department estimated that consumers would save up to $168 million per year under the plan. However, there could be higher initial costs, as manufacturers design new models to comply. The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) said the new rules would drive up costs for manufacturers and consumers alike "without providing meaningful energy savings."
"Most appliances covered by the program now operate at close enough to peak efficiency that it is unlikely that additional standards will result in significant energy gains," the group said.
Consumers would likely pay an extra $15 for a new standard-sized dishwasher, but the DOE said the proposed requirements would yield $3 billion in utility bill savings over three decades of shipments. It is also expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 12.5 million metric tons and save 240 billion gallons of water – which the agency said is equivalent to 360,000 Olympic-sized pools.
In August last year, the DOE started to enforce a ban on the manufacture and sale of most incandescent light bulbs and mandated the entire nation to resort to light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. (Related: New York set to become first state to ban gas furnaces, stoves in new buildings.)
New energy-efficient standards were also imposed on the use of refrigerators back in February. The federal agency also requested additional regulations on washing machines and issued new energy efficiency standards rules for portable air cleaners and air conditioners.
Experts think that these aggressive regulatory measures will only lead to more expensive household appliances that are far less effective than current models.
"What these mandates, what these standards, do is enforce a level of efficiency that doesn't make sense," Ben Lieberman, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told Fox News Digital. "And they compromise product quality. We've already seen this to an extent with the cost of clothes washer standards."
"That's another problem – this is a regulatory program that's very long in the tooth and you're getting to the point where clothes washers – this might be the fifth time they've been regulated," he added. "So, we're really chasing after diminishing or non existent marginal returns."
He also noted that mandating more restrictions could lead to less efficient products, thereby wasting more energy.
"These standards are counterproductive from the energy and environmental savings standpoint, but they're also a real inconvenience for consumers. They're not so convenient because you might have to do things more than once. Even if you do things once, your clothes washer and dishwasher cycle times are already longer," he said.
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