Big Step Forward for Appliance Energy Efficiency


A bill to update the state’s aging appliance efficiency standards has crossed a significant hurdle in the Statehouse. Yesterday, the Massachusetts House voted unanimously to adopt the measure, sending it to the Senate, which is expected to support the proposal.

The legislation (H.4737) updates energy efficiency standards and provides a simple way to save consumers money and reduce electricity use. Studies have estimated that updating efficiency standards could reduce electricity use in Massachusetts by 3% while saving consumers hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Using efficient products also has enormous benefits for the environment. According to ASAP, the bill will save over 173,000 metric tons of CO2 per year by 2025, which is the equivalent of taking nearly 40,000 cars off the road — not to mention almost 5 billion gallons of water (equivalent to 75,000 households annual usage) that it will save yearly.

The bill has received widespread approval this session, with CABA joining a large coalition of organizations like the Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) and the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) in supporting the bill. “This bill makes sense from an industry, consumer, and political perspective,” says Representative Frank Smizik, Chair of the House Committee on Climate Change. Adding, “it has the potential to save money, cut emissions, and help industry with new product development. We’re feeling optimistic.”

For seven years, Massachusetts has maintained a #1 rank in the country for energy efficiency. However, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) scores Massachusetts 0 out of 2 on appliance standards, whereas California, who is a close second in the national ranking, has already passed many of the efficiency standards proposed in the bill.

“This bill will help ensure we extend our streak and continue to be a national leader in energy and water efficiency. Thank you to CABA for your strong support,” says Representative Josh Cutler, Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Businesses. “The end result will be more energy efficient products on the marketplace and reduced water and energy usage, which translates into lower costs for consumers and businesses.”

The bill passed the House on the same day as three other clean energy proposals. These include one to raise the annual increase in renewable portfolio standards (RPS) to 2% (H.4738), a bill that collects data on energy storage in the state (H.4739), and one modifying state regulations to stay up-to-date on technological progress in clean energy (H.4749).

The Senate and Governor are expected to support the new energy efficiency standards, setting the state on track to see widespread cost savings by 2025.

TIM CRONIN Policy Associate