Talk of Tighter Efficiency Standards for Ceiling Fans Stirs Up Washington
The U.S. Energy Department is weighing new energy-efficiency standards for ceiling fans, but House Republicans and some industry groups are convinced the move isn’t really necessary and could increase costs for consumers.
The process began in March when the Department of Energy scheduled a public meeting in Washington to discuss the possibility of new energy requirements. American Lighting Association (ALA) president Dick Upton was among those who argued that new regulations could make fans more expensive and less reliable.
The department hasn’t specified any new energy requirements so far. But the ALA complains at its website that based on the DOE’s “Framework Document,” the government could end up requiring that ceiling fans use DC motors, which cost four to five times as much as motors running on alternating current and whose “reliablilty has been an issue.”
Rep. Marsha Blackburn was more blunt. In an interview with National Public Radio, the Memphis Republican called the possibility of new rules for ceiling fans “a sad state of affairs” and said the government was extending its “regulatory tentacles” even further into American homes. Blackburn, whose district is home to the Hunter Fan Co., successfully urged House Republicans to vote for a measure that would bar the DOE from moving ahead with new rules, NPR reports.
Not everyone in the industry agrees with Blackburn, however. Carey Smith, CEO of Big Ass Fans, told NPR that most ceiling fans “use an incredibly inefficient motor.” NPR reports that the fans his company produces use about 70% less electricity than average models.