DOE Proposal Would Undo More Trump-Era Roadblocks for Energy-Saving Standards


Contact: Ben Somberg, 202-658-8129,

A proposed rule announced by the Department of Energy (DOE) today would undo several of the previous administration’s roadblocks to strengthening efficiency standards for appliances and equipment. If finalized, it would help enable the Biden administration to fulfill its pledge to set aggressive appliance standards—and protect the climate while saving households and businesses money on energy bills.

“Trump’s energy department left behind a maze of obstacles for this administration,” said Andrew deLaski, executive director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP). “This announcement is a positive step and we’re looking for the Biden administration to begin proposing updates for overdue standards soon.”

DOE has a legal obligation to review and consider updating about 50 standards by the end of 2024. Many of the standards were already overdue at the start of this administration, while others will come due over the next few years.

The Trump administration’s “Process Rule,” finalized in 2020, added time-consuming steps and hurdles to DOE’s already lengthy standard-setting process. The new proposed rule today would:

  • Undo a provision that made it difficult for the department to set standards for commercial heating and cooling equipment that are stronger than those set by an industry professional society in which product manufacturers have a strong voice.
  • Undo a provision mandating that the department conduct multiple rulemaking steps before even proposing an updated standard.
  • Undo a provision requiring DOE to conduct a “coverage determination” process before initiating a rulemaking to set a standard for a product for the first time. Traditionally, information learned during the rulemaking process itself has informed the coverage determination.

A separate proposed rule, announced by DOE in March, would remove many of the other hurdles from the 2020 rule; it has not yet been finalized.

>President Biden had directed DOE in a January 20 executive order to consider proposing “major revisions” to the Process Rule by March and “any remaining revisions” by June.