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Talk of Tighter Efficiency Standards for Ceiling Fans Stirs Up Washington

comments (4) July 23rd, 2013 in Blogs
ScottG Scott Gibson, contributing writer

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.

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Comments (4)

RM_Colorado RM_Colorado writes: I inventoried the number of electric motors commonly used in my house. The number came to 36. According to my energy supplier, usage of these accounts for about 67% of my annual electric bill. (I didn't count motors that are rarely used.)

According to current industry claims, the technology already exists to cut electric motor consumption costs anywhere from 50% to 70%. However, it's rarely my choice to buy products which are inherently that efficient — they simply aren't available.

So, it's to my benefit that the DOE would push for higher efficiency standards. But this is not a "ME" issue!

This push is to OUR NATIONAL BENEFIT, and there's no logic in any contrary claim.
Posted: 10:08 am on August 9th

Bitchincamaro Bitchincamaro writes: Gee, a politician whining on behalf of her manufacturer/constituent/campaign contributor, instead of arguing on the merits of the issue. Who could have predicted?
Posted: 4:08 pm on August 7th

MrMiz MrMiz writes: I'm confused. If you want a more efficient ceiling fan couldn't you just buy one? That way those that want one, or can afford one, cab buy it and those that don't just won't?
Posted: 12:03 pm on August 6th

db5 db5 writes: What? Differing companies have stakes for and against such meddling? Surprise!

It's bad enough we have to deal with Title 24 BS when doing work in California, but to add a national compliance burden just seems ludicrous.

Maybe the DOE should get back to working on promoting the development of more energy instead of decreeing how we're 'allowed' to use what we have now.

If DC motors can be made at a price point to rival their contemporary AC counterparts, I'm sure they'll win out with consumers. Personally, I'd love to have a number of 'Haiku' fans throughout my home. However, the cost makes this prohibitive for most buyers and builders.
Posted: 12:05 am on July 24th

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