The U.S. government may not be able to push through a climate bill, but that hasn't stopped appliance makers from banding together and proposing efficiency standards of their own. The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers teamed up with the Natural Resources Defense Council and American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy this week to produce the Energy Efficient and Smart Appliance Agreement of 2010  (PDF), a sweeping set of energy and water efficiency standards that could save up to 9 quads  of energy and 5 trillion gallons of water over a 30-year period.
The standards could potentially save consumers $30 billion through 2030 by slashing the energy use of refrigerators, dishwashers, clothes washers, and dryers, and upping the efficiency of room air conditioners and clothes dryers. Manufacturers who pursue the highest levels of sustainability would also receive a tax credit. All told, these savings could meet the energy needs of 40% of U.S. homes for an entire year. Not bad for an industry agreement. There's a catch, of course. The standards and tax credit have yet to be adopted by Congress and the DOE. The NRDC explains :
These six appliances now join street lights and residential air conditioners and furnaces in waiting for Congress to enact consensus agreements on future standards. There certainly are a lot of energy savings and billions of consumer savings just looking for a home on Capitol Hill.
But with so many appliance manufacturers on board to enact the standards (GE, Sharp, Sub-Zero, Electrolux, Airwell, Samsung, Miele, and Whirlpool, among others), we have to hope that companies will at least attempt to adhere to them--even without a government go-ahead.