U.S. Senate’s Rollback of Furnace Standards Would Add Costs and Pollution


A resolution passed by the U.S. Senate Tuesday to block new furnace efficiency standards would raise costs for households and cause needless pollution. 

The standards—finalized by the Department of Energy last fall—are set to reduce energy costs for many households by about $50 annually while cutting 332 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions over 30 years of product sales. 

The Senate-passed resolution and one pending in the U.S. House of Representative would block the standards. President Biden has said he would veto the resolution.

Andrew deLaski, executive director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, said: “This was a vote to raise energy costs. The furnace standards are a win-win for consumers and the climate. Undoing them would mean wasting gas for decades to come.”

Courtney Griffin, director of consumer product safety at the Consumer Federation of America, said: “Today’s vote to roll back furnace efficiency standards is a step backward for both consumer savings and environmental protection. Unfortunately, senators chose higher costs and increased pollution over energy efficiency that benefits everyone.”

Johanna Neumann, senior director of Environment America's Campaign for 100% Renewable Energy, said: “Today senators voted to needlessly increase air pollution. This vote threatens to hamper America's efforts to build a cleaner, healthier future.”

Berneta Haynes, senior attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, said: “We are disappointed that senators voted to raise costs for low-income consumers. At a time when many low-income families struggle to afford their heating bills, failing to implement higher efficiency standards for furnaces will further burden already cash-strapped families.”

Xavier Boatright, Sierra Club deputy legislative director for clean energy and electrification, said: “The Senate seems to be more concerned with protecting fossil fuel interests than protecting the health and financial well-being of average Americans. We strongly support efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly appliance standards and urge Congress to work on behalf of consumers, not corporate polluters.”

Abe Scarr, utilities program director for U.S. PIRG, said: "By rejecting common-sense energy efficiency standards for furnaces, senators voted to raise many of their constituents' utility bills. That makes no sense.”

Heating is the largest energy use for most homes. Until last year, furnace efficiency standards had not been meaningfully updated since they were set by Congress in 1987.

The new standards finalized last year will require new furnaces—beginning in late 2028—to use about 15% less energy than today’s least efficient models. More information on the furnace standards is available in a fact sheet from the Appliance Standards Awareness Project.



ASAP: Ben Somberg, bsomberg@aceee.org 

CFA: Nicholas Rubando, nrubando@consumerfed.org 

EARPC: Johanna Neumann, johanna@environmentamerica.org 

NCLC: Stephen Rouzer, srouzer@nclc.org 

Sierra Club: Shannon VanHoesen, shannon.vanhoesen@sierraclub.org 

U.S. PIRG: Jon Maunder, jmaunder@publicinterestnetwork.org