WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has requested congressional authorization to greatly speed up its process for setting energy efficiency standards, with the goal of bringing more efficient products to market sooner.

The agency sent proposed legislation to Congress that would streamline the process for implementing energy efficiency standards for certain products when a clear consensus for a standard exists. The legislation could apply to more than 30 products, including home appliances, electrical equipment for the home, home plumbing equipment, commercial electrical equipment, and heating and cooling equipment for both homes and commercial buildings.

The new process would apply only when representatives of relevant interests - including manufacturers, efficiency advocates, and state officials - negotiate on their own initiative and propose an energy conservation standard for a product for which DOE had issued an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking. If DOE then determines that the proposed standard would meet the substantive requirements of the law for that product, the agency could publish a notice of direct final rulemaking that incorporates the recommended standard. If no objection to the standard then arises, the direct final rule would become effective 120 days after the notice was published.

Publication date:03/05/2007