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Government now going after ceiling fans

Ceiling fans are the latest target of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) which is proposing new regulations on energy use. The rules have already stirred controversy similar to that over new regulations and possible ban on gas stoves.

The DOE changes, though, will save just $39.84 over the entire lifespan of the fan. It is believed there are 85 million American households that use at least one ceiling fan. One out of four households has four or more.

Fans are already green, say energy experts, and the redesigns may not be worth the effort. Fans are an inexpensive means to cool rooms and use just a fraction of the electricity used by AC units. The DOE, though, is set to upend the fan industry for a $4 per year savings on electricity.

The meager savings is similar to that of the ban on gas stoves. “DOE’s original proposal was to save consumers 13 cents per month in utility costs over the life of gas cooking products. The revised data reduces consumer savings to just 9 cents per month,” the industry group Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) said about the changes in an Aug. 3 press release.

At 9 cents a month, the projected savings will come to just $1.08 per year. Over a decade, that amounts to $10.80 in savings.

With regard to ceiling fan regulations, the DOE calculates that manufacturers may have to shell out $86.6 million per year in “increased equipment costs.”

In an Aug. 24 letter (pdf) to DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Republicans from the House Committee on Small Business criticized the proposal, highlighting the harms it would have on small businesses in the ceiling fan industry.

“This rule would require numerous small business fan manufacturers to redesign their products and may put between 10 and 30 percent of small business ceiling fan manufacturers out of business,” the letter said.

“It appears that the Department of Energy (DOE) may not have properly considered small entities during this rulemaking process. It is important for agencies to examine small businesses’ interests—which make up 99.9 percent of all businesses in the United States—when passing any new rule.”

The committee asked the DOE for more information on the issue, including whether the agency believes certain small manufacturers “will go out of business” as a result of the proposed rule and whether it expects some manufacturers to abandon a few of their product lines to comply with the rules.

The committee gave the DOE time until Aug. 30 to reply to their request.

The ceiling fan regulations come as part of the Biden administration’s pro-climate policy push. On Jan. 20, 2021, President Biden signed an executive order requiring the DOE to create an “energy conservation program for appliance standards.”

A month later, the agency listed over a dozen energy-efficiency rules related to appliances like lamps, cooking products, and water heaters that it would review.

“First, they went after your car. Then, they targeted your gas stoves. Now, they are coming for your ceiling fans. America will continue to reject the Biden Climate Police’s authoritarianism,” Rep. Bill Cline (R-Va.) said in an Aug. 25 post on X.

–Wire services

Photo: Hans Olav Lien.  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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