Obama reveals latest US climate targets: commercial fridges and walk-in coolers

2 Sep 2013

US President Barack Obama’s Energy Department has unleashed the latest climate change goals from the White House. The latest two proposed rules centre around commercial refrigeration equipment, walk-in coolers, fridges and supermarket displays. The goal? To cut energy bills by up to US$28bn and cut CO2 emissions by more than 350m metric tonnes – both over 30 years.

The new climate change energy-efficiency standards were announced by the Energy Department in the US recently.

Writing on the White House Blog, Heather Zichal, deputy assistant to Obama for energy and climate change, said that energy efficiency is one of the “most cost-effective opportunities” for families across the US to save money. She also said such measures would make businesses Stateside more competitive and ultimately reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

Zichal said this reduction in CO2 emissions (350m metric tones) would be the equivalent of taking almost 109m new cars off the road for one year.

“Or put another way, the energy saved from these proposed rules would be equal to the amount of electricity used by 50m homes in a year.”

Of these two proposed rules, one of these is to improve energy-efficiency standards for commercial refrigeration equipment. Think restaurant-size fridges or the deli cases in a local corner shop or convenience store.

This proposed rule – if it’s adopted – could slash energy bills by up to US$4bn in the US and result in CO2 emissions reductions of 55m metric tonnes over a 30-year time frame.

Sarah Zichal Energy Department
Heather Zichal, Energy Department, who is deputy assistant to US President Barack Obama for energy and climate change

The other proposal from the Energy Department is to improve energy efficiency standards for walk-in coolers and freezers.

“If adopted as final, this proposed rule could cut energy bills by up to U$24bn and result in CO2 emissions reductions of 298m metric tons over 30 years,” wrote Zichal.

In Obama’s first term as US president, the Energy Department set up new minimum efficiency standards for dishwashers, refrigerators, and many other electrical products in the US.

Between now and 2030, the output of these standards will aim to save both consumers and businesses combined hundreds of billions of dollars.

During his first and second terms respectively, Obama also set a new goal in his Climate Action Plan:

That was to reduce carbon pollution by at least 3bn metric tonnes cumulatively by 2030. How? Via efficiency standards set for appliances and federal buildings.

Writing on the White House Blog last Thursday, Zichal said that these “critical steps” would “bolster” the energy productivity of the US economy, shave energy costs for American families and businesses, and “leave a healthier planet for future generations”.

Carbon footprint image
via Shutterstock

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic