The U.S. Energy Department proposed new efficiency standards that would cut expenses and emissions from commercial refrigerators and coolers, ending months of delay by the White House.
The requirements for equipment used in restaurants, convenience stores and ice-cream shops will require less use of electricity, reducing costs and greenhouse-gas emissions. The department issued similar guidelines this month for the lights used in big-box retail stores.
“These critical steps bolster the energy productivity of our economy, cut energy costs for American families and businesses, and leave a healthier planet for future generations,” Heather Zichal, the White House’s top energy adviser, said today in a blog post.
The two proposals, if unchanged when issued as final rules, would reduce electricity use by as much as $28 billion and cut 350 million tons of carbon-dioxide emissions in the next 30 years, according to the White House.
The rule for supermarket walk-in coolers and freezers would cut costs by $24 billion and trim carbon dioxide emissions by 298 million tons. The remaining $4 billion would be saved from a rule aimed at restaurant refrigerators and convenience-store coolers, according to the White House.
The proposals were issued after environmental groups and state governments pressed for action from the administration of President Barack Obama. The draft rules were sent to the Office of Management and Budget for review more than a year ago, and missed the 90-day deadline for release.
Because of those delays, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman led 10 states in threatening legal action unless the rules were issued. Early this month, the administration settled with the states, and agreed to issue the proposals now and final rules in early 2014.
A separate standard for electric motors will be proposed in November, according to the settlement schedule.
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