It’s easy to get preoccupied with the big flashy things the government does, but sometimes it’s the small mundane things that really hurt. In 2022, one of those small things was stricter energy-efficiency standards.
On December 19, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced its latest action on this front—an initiative to increase minimum-efficiency requirements for lightbulbs.
The Biden administration took the opportunity to celebrate the year-end win.
“Today, the White House and the Department of Energy (DOE) announced that the Biden-Harris Administration has surpassed its goal to take 100 actions in 2022 to strengthen energy efficiency standards for a range of appliances and equipment to lower costs for American families,” the White House said.
The lightbulb initiative was the 110th action of the year, they note.
“These 110 actions span a range of household products—everything from air conditioners and furnaces, to clothes washers and dryers, to kitchen appliances and water heaters—as well as commercial and industrial equipment.”
An action is a general term that just means an agency is doing something. Two of the main types of actions are proposing a rule and finalizing a rule. The proposal is the first step to creating a new regulation, and it outlines what the agency plans to do. For example, the action taken on Dec. 19 was a proposal to raise the minimum lightbulb efficiency level from 45 to over 120 lumens per watt for the most common bulbs.
Once the agency has announced their proposal and some time has elapsed for public comment, the agency takes a finalizing action which establishes the rule as an official regulation. The 110 actions taken this year were a combination of proposing and finalizing actions as well as actions related to “test procedures and coverage determinations,” which the White House says are “rulemakings that lay the groundwork for DOE to issue stronger efficiency standards.”