Department of Energy to push new efficiency standards in Maryland

After nearly 18 months of delays, the Department of Energy (DOE) has finally committed to pushing forward four new energy efficiency standards in Maryland and nine other states. Once implemented, these new measures could help save homeowners and building tenants over $3.8 billion in annual energy costs – equal to the amount of electricity needed to power four million houses.

Greentech Media reports that the announcement came from a letter sent by DOE to a coalition of ten states, notifying the parties that, starting this month, the department will begin introducing new efficiency standards for products like metal halide lamps, walk-in coolers and freezers and other commercial refrigeration equipment. The notice adds that DOE will apply similar measures to electric motors beginning in November.

The delays, which had ranged between seven and eighteen months past expectations and were a violation of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, drew sharp criticisms from many green proponents for their financial and environmental impact. According to the source, the delays in standards for just these four appliances have cost Americans an estimated $2.31 billion in lost savings, and have produced 27.7 million metric tons of otherwise avoidable carbon emissions.

DOE's decision to renew its commitment to energy efficiency comes at a time when the White House is making a harder push toward nationwide sustainability policies. The Natural Resources Defense Council describes the DOE standards as "win-win" measures, noting that existing standards are already on track to curb 9 billion tons in carbon dioxide emissions and yield $1.1 trillion in savings by 2045.

Homeowners in the area are encouraged to meet with Maryland home inspectors for an energy audit, which can assess how your property consumes energy and what can be done to make the house more efficient, helping you to reap lower utility bills and a reduced carbon footprint.