May 21, 2024 — Press Release

WASHINGTON – A resolution passed by the U.S. Senate Tuesday to block new furnace efficiency standards would raise costs for households and cause needless pollution.

The standards—finalized by the Department of Energy last fall—are set to reduce energy costs for many households by about $50 annually while cutting 332 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions over 30 years of product sales.

The Senate-passed resolution and one pending in the U.S. House of Representatives would block the standards. President Biden has said he would veto the resolution.

“We are disappointed that senators voted to raise costs for low-income consumers,” said Berneta Haynes, senior attorney at the National Consumer Law Center. “At a time when many low-income families struggle to afford their heating bills, failing to implement higher efficiency standards for furnaces will further burden already cash-strapped families.”

“This was a vote to raise energy costs. The furnace standards are a win-win for consumers and the climate,” said Andrew deLaski, executive director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project. “Undoing them would mean wasting gas for decades to come.”

“Today’s vote to roll back furnace efficiency standards is a step backward for both consumer savings and environmental protection,” said Courtney Griffin, director of consumer product safety at the Consumer Federation of America. “Unfortunately, senators chose higher costs and increased pollution over energy efficiency that benefits everyone.”

“Today senators voted to needlessly increase air pollution. This vote threatens to hamper America’s efforts to build a cleaner, healthier future,” said Johanna Neumann, senior director of Environment America’s Campaign for 100% Renewable Energy.

“The Senate seems to be more concerned with protecting fossil fuel interests than protecting the health and financial well-being of average Americans,” said Xavier Boatright, Sierra Club deputy legislative director for clean energy and electrification. “We strongly support efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly appliance standards and urge Congress to work on behalf of consumers, not corporate polluters.”

“By rejecting common-sense energy efficiency standards for furnaces, senators voted to raise many of their constituents’ utility bills,” said Abe Scarr, utilities program director for U.S. PIRG. “That makes no sense.”

Heating is the largest energy use for most homes. Until last year, furnace efficiency standards had not been meaningfully updated since they were set by Congress in 1987.

The new standards finalized last year will require new furnaces—beginning in late 2028—to use about 15% less energy than today’s least efficient models. More information on the furnace standards is available in a fact sheet from the Appliance Standards Awareness Project.

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