Retailers would no longer be allowed to sell less-efficient ovens, water heaters, gas fireplaces and certain other appliances under a measure proposed this month by Colorado lawmakers.
The measure, House Bill 1161, would use federal standards, outlined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to filter more efficient appliances from dated models, state Rep. Cathy Kipp said. By the start of 2024, in-person and online stores would no longer be able to sell the latter.
Appliances covered in the bill include air purifiers, commercial ovens, electric storage water heaters, gas fireplaces, irrigation controllers and shower and bathtub equipment.
“We just want people to have climate-friendly options going forward in the future,” Kipp, D-Fort Collins, said.
The measure doesn’t wade into the national debate surrounding gas stoves, nor does it cover stoves at all. Kipp noted that the measure would only apply to new sales, not appliances that people already own.
Colorado lawmakers passed a similar bill in 2019, applying new energy and water-efficiency standards to new equipment sold in the state and Kipp’s bill effectively updates those standards, Christine Brinker, senior building policy manager for the nonprofit Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, said.
In the finer print the bill would also ban the manufacturing and sale of certain types of fluorescent light bulbs, Brinker said.
“The kind you see in really old office building basements,” Brinker said.
LED bulbs are already much more efficient than linear fluorescent bulbs, Brinker said. When the old lights break they leak toxic mercury, to which retail, janitorial and waste workers are exposed, Brinker said.
The new appliance standards — which would follow federal Energy Star guidelines — match those in place by California and Vermont, Brinker said. Legislators in other states like Nevada and New Mexico are considering similar measures.
Stores that sell the less-efficient appliances would be allowed to sell out of their existing stock, state Sen. Lisa Cutter, D-Littleton, added. And the measure considers both cost and product availability, meaning customers shouldn’t have to pay more for the still-available appliances, nor should they have to search harder for a product than they would have before.
For example, the measure would apply new standards to gas fireplaces, prohibiting those that continuously burn a pilot light for more than a week after its last use. It would also require new gas fireplaces to have venting systems.
Commercial ovens and air purifiers would be required to meet new Energy Star efficiency standards. Certain windows, residential doors and skylights would also be required to meet standards set out by the federal program.
The changes should save customers money in the long-run, Brinker, whose organization supports the measure, said.
And the new law shouldn’t be all that noticeable to customers, Cutter said.
“We’re not trying to make this more expensive or difficult than it needs to be.”
But the sum total of gas, electricity and water saved by the changes, would help in the state’s battle to conserve resources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Cutter said. Part of the all-of-the-above approach to combatting climate change.
“There’s not one big, huge solution,” Cutter said. “It’s a lot of little things we can consistently do to make an impact over time.”
If enacted, the new rules would apply to businesses at the start of 2024 and state health officials would periodically spot-check stores to make sure their stock matches the standards, Cutter said.
The measure is scheduled to be heard next week in the House’s Energy and Environment Committee.
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