For immediate release: February 14, 2002
Media Contact: Percy Della - 916-654-4989
California Announces Toughest Air Conditioning Standards in the Nation
Sacramento - The California Energy Commission has adopted the
nation's toughest energy efficiency standards for central air
conditioners - a move that could further diminish electricity demand
during hot summers.
Following a 4-0 vote to approve the new standards at the Energy
Commission's last Business Meeting, Commissioner Robert Pernell said
"California has hurled a challenge to the federal government to give
us an additional tool in our efforts to solve our energy problem."
The new regulations for home air conditioners are a 30 percent
improvement on the current standard and are 10 percent better than
the proposed federal standard - requiring a waiver from Washington to
Stressing that home and commercial cooling accounts for nearly 30
percent of the total energy use by the state during hot summer
afternoons, Pernell, Chair of the Energy Commission's Efficiency
"The new air conditioner standards reflect the drier climate in
California, and, along with the full set of standards, can reduce our
peak electricity demand by 134 megawatts - the equivalent of a
medium-sized power plant costing about $80 million."
The air conditioning standards were among the new ones approved,
including those covering commercial refrigerators, beverage vending
machines, exit signs, traffic signals, torchiere lighting fixtures,
coin-operated clothes washers, and electricity transformers.
The new rules, part of the energy conservation goals of Assembly Bill
970 signed by Governor Gray Davis in September 2000, were negotiated
after numerous workshops and input from consumers, manufacturers,
electric and water utilities, environmental groups, and other
stakeholders in the appliance industry.
John M Mandyck, Vice President of the Carrier Corporation, a
leading manufacturer of heating, air conditioning and
refrigeration equipment said:
"The California Energy Commission has worked hard to craft
new appliance standards to best serve the energy
conservation needs of California, and we are pleased the
regulations call attention to the growing number of air
conditioning and refrigeration products that have begun to
use environmentally sound, non-ozone depleting
Some of the new standards will slightly increase the purchase cost of
new appliances. But consumers will make up the initial cost through
savings in energy bills. With the new standards, the Energy
Commission estimates that Californians will save almost $3.4 billion
over a 10-year period.
Since California adopted the nation's first appliance standards in
1976, it has led the Union in ensuring that the rules remain attuned
to the changing electricity climate. Over the years, many of
California's appliance efficiency regulations have been adopted as