The Department of Energy (DOE) is proposing stiff new regulations for the ceiling fan industry. The DOE held a public meeting on Energy Conservation Standards Framework for Ceiling Fans and Ceiling Fan Light Kits in Washington D.C. on March 22, 2013, which followed its release of a 100-page Framework Document requesting feedback from members of the ceiling fan industry. The proposed regulations will significantly increase ceiling fan energy efficiency requirements on an already highly regulated industry.
Many representatives of the industry responded with letters and voiced their opinions at the meeting. They emphasized the same fact that ceiling fans are energy efficient by nature, and that any new regulations will likely increase costs for consumers. Representatives also advocated educating consumers on the energy and cost-saving benefits of using ceiling fans by, among other initiatives, holding the first annual National Ceiling Fan Day later this year.
The Impact on the Ceiling Fan Industry and Consumers
The DOE’s proposed regulations will likely increase the production costs for ceiling fan manufacturers, resulting in the extra expenses being passed on to consumers. In addition, these additional ceiling fan energy efficiency regulations may prevent manufacturers from producing fans that continue to push the limits of creative design and innovation.
The Framework Document indicates that the DOE could impose a requirement for all ceiling fans to transition from AC motors to DC motors. Although DC motors are more energy efficient and use less wattage on high settings, the cost is four to five times higher compared to AC motors. However, since most people do not run their ceiling fans on a high setting the majority of the time—using either medium or low settings instead—the difference in wattage is insignificant.
The Real Comparison
While the DOE is looking for ways to increase ceiling fan energy efficiency, its proposed regulations essentially disregard how much energy ceiling fans already save. A ceiling fan uses very little energy compared to a home’s air conditioning unit. In fact, it is one of the only household appliances that actually help a consumer save both energy and money on cooling and heating their homes. Instead of tightening regulations, it would be far more beneficial for the DOE to focus on ways to promote ceiling fan usage.
The proposed changes also present many aesthetic concerns. Manufacturers are currently producing innovative, stylish, modern ceiling fans that are also highly energy efficient. They uniquely complement a home’s décor while providing a better cooling option to air conditioners. The new DOE regulations will limit how creative ceiling fan manufacturers can be with their new designs. That may mean fewer options for consumers, less innovation, and a decrease in consumer demand overall—which will impact ceiling fan manufacturers, retailers, and consumers alike.
The new ceiling fan energy efficiency regulations are still under review and, if passed, will be announced in 2015 with compliance being required by 2019. The debate is ongoing, and the industry and public at-large only has until June 14, 2013, to express its views and suggest alternatives to the proposed regulations. It’s important for manufacturers, retailers, and consumers to get involved now to try to prevent these additional regulations from going into effect in the future.
You can contact your senators and congressman/woman to share your opinion about these new regulations. Find your senator at http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm and your congressional representative at http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/.
You can also write Brenda Edwards at the U.S. Department of Energy by emailing Brenda.Edwards@ee.doe.gov. Include (RIN) 1904-AC87 in the subject line of the message.
Visit http://goo.gl/B4VUW for more information about the Energy Conservation Standards for Ceiling Fans and Ceiling Fan Light Kits.