Congressional gridlock earlier this week resulted in the federal government's first shutdown in 17 years, suspending funding to federal agencies and leaving over 800,000 employees on unpaid leave. But despite this shakeup, the Department of Energy (DOE) remains open, seemingly operating on leftover funds from the previous fiscal year and moving ahead on a new energy efficiency measure: Improved standards for furnace fans.
The Energy Collective, a clean energy news outlet, reports that the move marks a significant step for creating more energy efficient homes across the country. While few even think of how efficient their furnace fans are, they represent one of the largest consumers of electricity in the average American household. A typical furnace fan utilizes 800 kilowatt-hours of energy every year, more than the combined annual consumption of a new dishwasher and refrigerator. The new DOE rule would cut this level of use down by 40 percent, leaving homeowners with approximately $400 in savings for the fan's lifespan.
According to the source, DOE's ability to continue along with this and other efficiency proposals is imperative not just because of the financial and environmental implications, but because it underscores the seriousness of the administration's commitment to President Barack Obama's Climate Plan. Announced as a crucial element of his second term, the president's strategy seeks to double the country's energy productivity and reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions by implementing new power-use regulations on product standards and building codes.
Washington, D.C., homeowners looking to make their own green contributions are encouraged to schedule an appointment with DC home inspectors to learn how about efficient (or not) their property is, and what measures can be taken to improve efficiency, curtail carbon footprints and produce cheaper utility bills.