Biden administration to require more efficient window air conditioners, air cleaners

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The Biden administration is finalizing more stringent efficiency requirements for both window air conditioners and portable air cleaners on Thursday, the first set of efficiency standards that are new and not just a reversal of a Trump-era rollback.

Window air conditioners — also known as room air conditioners — are smaller air conditioners that can be put into window frames. They are the main cooling source for 21.4 million U.S. households, according to the Energy Department.

The new standards, shared first with The Hill, would save consumers a total of about  $1.5 billion per year on their electricity bills, the Energy Department said. It also expects the standards to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 106 million metric tons over 30 years — the equivalent of the annual emissions of 13.4 million homes.

Together, they are expected to cost manufacturers a total of about $82.1 million to comply with.

“Today’s announcement builds on the historic actions President Biden took last year to strengthen outdated energy efficiency standards, which will help save on people’s energy bills and reduce our nation’s carbon footprint,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a written statement. “DOE will continue to engage with our public and private sector partners to finalize additional proposals like today’s that lower household energy costs and deliver the safer, healthier communities that every American deserves.”

The Energy Department says that all of its past and planned energy efficiency policies are expected to cut greenhouse gas emissions by a total of more than 2.4 billion metric tons and save consumers $570 billion cumulatively over 30 years.

Other appliances that have been targeted so far include lightbulbs, washers and dryers and, somewhat controversially, gas stoves.

Granholm, during a Thursday congressional hearing, said that the gas stove regulation was coming as the result of a legal consent decree and that half of the gas stoves on the market would not be impacted.

Updated at 3:53 p.m.

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