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Environment Washington urges state legislators to adopt energy-saving standards for common products

Policy would cut carbon pollution by 176 thousand metric tons
For Immediate Release

Olympia, WA — Environment Washington joined environmental and consumer allies to press the Washington legislature to adopt appliance efficiency standards (SB 5115/HB 1444) on 17 consumer products, including commercial dishwashers, commercial fryers, water coolers and faucets. The new standards would reduce customers’ utility bills, cut climate altering carbon dioxide pollution and smog forming emissions, and save water resources.

“Appliance efficiency standards are a sensible and significant way to improve the health of both people and the planet,” said Bruce Speight, Director of Environment Washington. “Applying these common-sense measures will take a big bite out of pollution by reducing the amount of unnecessary energy wasted by common products.”

Adopting 17 recommended standards in Washington would result in annual savings of approximately 544 gigawatts of electricity (enough to power 52,312 average U.S. homes for a year) by 2025, according to the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, a national organization working to  advance, win and defend new efficiency standards for appliances, equipment and lighting.

Annual water savings are estimated to be 6,818 million gallons by 2025, enough to meet the annual water consumption needs of 62,264 average U.S. households. In addition, by 2025 this measure will save Washington consumers $134 million annually on utility bills. In addition, the policy would require new electric storage water heaters to be grid-ready, setting the stage for even more savings and an important step toward a clean energy future.

“Our modern-day society uses extraordinary amounts of energy; it’s never been more important to ensure energy efficiency in our appliances, buildings, transportation and every other aspect of life;” said state Sen. Reuven Carlyle, prime sponsor of the bill.  “This legislation takes an important and meaningful step forward and it shows Washington is joining other leading states to reduce our carbon footprint and energy consumption in every aspect of our daily life.” 

The recommended standards would annually prevent 176 thousand metric tons of climate-altering carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere -- the equivalent of taking more than 38,000 cars off of the road each year. The standards would also prevent pollution from nitrogen oxide (smog-causing pollution) and sulfur dioxide (a fine particulate pollution).

“Adopting these standards will take us another important step toward meeting our state’s ambitious carbon emission reduction targets,” added state Sen. Guy Palumbo, another sponsor of the bill. “I look forward to working with supporters to put them into place.”

“Efficiency standards aren’t only good environmental policy—they also protect consumers from buying products that use more energy than they need to,” said Amy Wheeless, of the NW Energy Coalition, an advocacy group that supports policies that promote a clean and affordable energy future. “These standards will save Washingtonians money—it’s the sensible thing to do.”

SB 5115 has passed the Senate Energy, Environment and Technology Committee and is currently before the Senate Ways and Means Committee.  The companion bill, HB 1444, had a hearing in the House Environment Committee on January 29, and is scheduled for an executive session on February 7.

“Energy efficiency receives broad public support, and these appliance standards offer a win-win opportunity,” Speight concluded. “Consumers will pay less for their energy needs, while cutting down on dangerous chemicals that severely endanger our communities and climate. This legislative session provides us with the perfect opportunity to take action.”