The Department of Energy Releases New Rules for Ceiling Fans
The Department of Energy recently made a final ruling on regulations for ceiling fans, aiming to increase efficiency, testing, and reporting standards. The DOE analysis set new criteria designed to achieve the greatest amount of energy efficiency, while utilizing the most technologically feasible and economically justifiable methods possible. This ruling is expected to disrupt the industry, but some manufacturers – anticipating the ruling – have already met or exceeded the new standard. EnergyLogic’s MacroAir fans are on the frontlines of compliance with its products, while competitors, including Big Ass Fans, are working to reach the new requirements.
Background: Why Change the Standard?
In 1975, Congress enacted the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) in an attempt to create a comprehensive federal approach to energy policy. The EPCA had a few main goals:
The EPCA also created the Energy Conservation Program for Consumer Products of Other than Automobiles. Included in this program are ceiling fans, which are subject to the idea that any new or amended conservation standard must adhere to design that creates maximum improvements in energy efficiency, using methods that the DOE determines are economically justified and technologically feasible. Each new standard must also result in the substantial conservation of energy.
In other words, the DOE believes that all manufacturers of ceiling fans can achieve these standards without a significant economic burden. The new criteria will help consumers save energy and money, and conservation efforts will have a positive environmental impact.
Benefits to Consumers
The DOE analysis reports that new conservation standards for ceiling fans would save a substantial amount of energy, which equates to cost savings for consumers. The ruling affects the energy-efficiency requirements for all ceiling fans and has an estimated net benefit of $911.4 million-per-year in consumer savings and environmental profits, beginning in the first full year of implementation (2020).
It also estimates that the lifetime energy savings of ceiling fans purchased in the first full year of implementation (2020), through the 30-year lifecycle, equals 2.008 quadrillion BTUs (British thermal units). The cumulative net present value (NPV) of total consumer costs is estimated at $4.48 to $12.123 billion in the 29-year period between 2020 and 2049.
Benefits to the Environment
In addition to creating significant consumer cost savings, the new standards are projected to have a meaningful environmental benefit. The DOE estimates that between 2020 and 2049, these new standards will result in a cumulative greenhouse gas emission reduction of:
In fact, the carbon monoxide emission reduction through 2030 alone is expected to be 18.2 million metric tons, equivalent to the annual electricity use of nearly 2 million homes.
Impact on Manufacturers
The new rules are designed to have a minimal disruptive effect on the industry. A fan’s performance will be measured as the amount of air movement per electrical input (CFM/W), with minimum requirements depending on the diameter of the fan itself.
According to the new criteria, the oldest geared-motor technology available on the market will need to be brought up to the new DOE standards, or manufacturers will have to replace these mechanisms with a more efficient “premium A/C motor”, which will likely necessitate a redesign. In addition, blade attachments, such as winglets and whale tales, were tested under the new, more scrutinous, standards and deemed to have a negligible effect on efficiency, laying to rest some old claims.
EnergyLogic is committed to delivering energy-efficient cost-saving fans with the quality and cooling effects our customers have come to love. Our MacroAir fans exceed the new efficiency standards, as our customers have been enjoying for years. Other industry players, such as Big Ass Fans, are scrambling to meet the new compliance standards.