Higher Energy Efficiency Standards Good for Businesses and Consumers

Representative Dingfelder is a second term legislator representing NE Portland.
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I am happy to report that one of my bills, HB3363, which sets energy efficiency standards for eleven commercial and residential products, passed the legislature and is headed to the Governor's desk.

This is the first proactive environmental bill to pass out of the Legislature this session. It is an example of the kind modest and sensible steps that can be taken, even in the current polarized political climate, to realize significant improvements for businesses, consumers, and the environment. This bill will cost the state nothing and consumer costs will be minimal. Appliances will remain affordable, and the Department of Energy has calculated that the increase in cost for the more efficient appliances will be paid back by increased operating efficiency within one to three years of purchase. Over the long term, individuals and businesses will save millions of dollars through more efficient use of electricity, natural gas, and water.

Beginning in 2007, eleven specific appliances will have to meet statutory standards for energy and water efficiency. The efficiency standards in HB 3363A apply to such appliances such as Torchier Lights, Exit Signs, and Traffic Signals. During the first year these standards are fully in place, Oregon consumers and businesses will save:

• 70 gigawatt hours of electricity (enough to power 5500 households for a year)
• 172 billion BTUs of natural gas (enough to heat 2400 households for a year)
• 259 million gallons of water (enough for 4000 households for a year)

The savings will increase with time as more users replace older appliances with more efficient models. For example, within 8 years of implementing the standards, water savings are projected to rise to nearly one billion gallons per year. This translates to dollars saved by Oregon homes and businesses. Assuming the standards remain in effect, the increases in product efficiency will save Oregon business and households approximately $253 million by the year 2020.

In passing HB 3363, Oregon joins a growing list of states adopting such standards. Earlier this year, Arizona, New Jersey, and Washington enacted similar legislation, and California, Connecticut, and Maryland already have efficiency standards in place. Similar legislation was introduced this year in Florida, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Oregon’s standards, like Washington’s are identical those already enacted in California. Since California alone represents more than 15% of the national marketplace, when manufactures have adjusted their products to meet California standards it will be easy for them to comply with Oregon’s.

June 29, 2005 by Jackie Dingfelder
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