The administration says the standards will not only help the planet but also stimulate the economy by saving consumers money on their energy bills that they can spend elsewhere.
But industry groups argue the standards, which will apply to both commercial and household appliances, could slow the economy, and that the Energy Department is rushing the new rules while overestimating the savings. Other critics argue the push to regulate household appliances is evidence of a nanny state.
“They’re not taking the time to get it right,” said Steve Yurek, president and CEO of the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute. “That’s what we’re concerned about,” he said.
As evidence of the rush, critics point to how the Energy Department has already finalized new efficiency standards for seven appliances in 2014, with another three rules expected by the end of the year. That compares to two rules in 2013 and three in 2012.