DOE Announces New Gas Appliances Standards

The Biden administration strives to reduce the climate change impact of your gas stove. In January, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) finalized energy efficiency standards for residential stoves and ovens. They will take effect in 2028.

The standards will save Americans an estimated $1.6 billion on utility bills over 30 years and reduce carbon emissions by nearly four million metric tons over 30 years, equivalent to the annual emissions from energy use of 500,000 homes. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is roughly equivalent to the emissions of 18 million gas-powered cars, 22 coal power plants, or 10.5 million homes over 30 years.

Only a few gas appliance models must improve energy efficiency to meet the new standards. For example, around 97 percent of gas trove models meet the standards.

“Standards at these levels will significantly reduce household energy bills and planet-warming emissions, period,” said Andrew deLaski, executive director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project.

“Energy efficiency standards save consumers money and reduce a household’s burden on the grid, without sacrificing the user experience of a product,” said Deputy Director for Sierra Club’s Building Electrification campaign Amneh Minkara, in a statement. “It’s a win-win. Given the array of benefits of energy efficiency for appliances, including stoves, it is hard to imagine that anyone would oppose these common-sense standards.”

Methane Leaks From Gas Appliances

Residential energy use accounts for around 20 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. Gas appliances generate carbon by burning natural gas and leaking methane. Methane’s warming potential is around 86 times as great as carbon over 20 years and at least 25 times over a century.

Over one-third of American homes, more than 40 million, cook with gas stoves. This number is about 70 percent in New Jersey, California, Chicago, and New York. A Stanford-led study found that methane leaks from gas stoves in the U.S. are comparable to the carbon emissions from 500,000 gas-powered cars. Researchers measured methane and nitrogen oxide leaks in 53 percent of California homes from stoves and cooktops from 18 brands.

“Surprisingly, there are very few measurements of how much natural gas escapes into the air from inside homes and buildings through leaks and incomplete combustion from appliances,” said study lead author Eric Lebel. “It’s probably the part of natural gas emissions we understand the least about, and it can have a big impact on both climate and indoor air quality.”

Not everyone will opt for an electric or induction stove when their gas stove dies. Often, they will buy another gas one, which makes the DOE’s new standards key for reducing emissions from American homes.

As Johanna Neumann, Senior Director of the Campaign for 100% Renewable Energy for Environment Campaign, said, “By consistently making sure that manufacturers incorporate technological improvements into their products, the appliance standards program has a winning track record of reducing pollution that makes us sick and warms our planet.”

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
Gina-Marie Cheeseman
Gina-Marie Cheeseman, freelance writer/journalist/copyeditor Twitter: @gmcheeseman

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