Vermont law aims to spur energy savings
The new standards could reduce by about a third the volume of water needed for a shower by banning shower heads that release more than 2 gallons of water per minute. iStock photo
A new energy-efficiency law could end up saving Vermonters hundreds of millions of dollars.
The bill signed by Gov. Phil Scott sets 16 separate efficiency standards for products ranging from computer monitors to commercial deep fryers and fluorescent bulbs, reports VT Digger.
The state’s most recent Comprehensive Energy Plan, published in 2016, found that for every dollar invested in 2012 Efficiency Vermont – the state’s energy-efficiency utility – Vermonters got back $4.60 in economic value. A 2016 study showed Efficiency Vermont saved Vermonters $2 for every $1 invested in the program.
“The governor has supported initiatives that help increase adoption of energy efficient products — including his proposals to implement tax holidays for the purchase of electric vehicles and other energy efficient household products, as well as support for woodstove changeout programs — because of the well-established cost-effectiveness and overall economic and environmental benefits of doing so,” Scott’s spokeswoman, Rebecca Kelley, said in an email.
The largest energy savings resulting from the new law will come from a reduction in the quantity of hot water homes use.
The new standards could reduce by about a third the volume of water needed for a shower, by banning shower heads that release more than 2 gallons of water per minute, as well as faucets with a flow of more than 1.5 gallons to 1.8 gallons of water per minute.
The bill contains other important provisions, environmental advocates say. One of them closes a federal loophole that in 2012 exempted some businesses requiring specialized lighting from having to adopt new energy-efficiency standards.
Improvements in the quality of LED lighting has eliminated the justification for the exemption. The old, more inefficient bulbs the businesses had been permitted to use won’t be sold in Vermont after July 2019.
Taken together, the standards will add up to significant savings for Vermonters, said Ben Walsh, climate and energy program director at Vermont Public Interest Research Group.
The efficiency standards in the new law will reduce carbon emissions by substantially reducing the amount of electricity required for appliances and equipment, officials said.
Rep. Curt McCormack, D-Burlington, said the same standards put into effect nationwide could save Americans $3.6 trillion by 2030. In Vermont, by the year 2025, the standards in the legislation will save Vermonters more than $17 million per year in energy costs, he said.