Is Joe Biden Coming for Your Ceiling Fan?
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is proposing a new rule that would make ceiling fans more energy efficient.
President Joe Biden has made climate change and the green energy transition a massive focus of his administration by passing laws like the Inflation Reduction Act that designates $369 billion toward America's green energy transition. The Biden administration also has taken smaller steps to reduce the nation's carbon footprint as well, such as establishing stricter regulations for gas stoves and dishwashers.
Now, the DOE is examining ceiling fans and proposing ways to make them more efficient.
"DOE's analyses indicate that the proposed energy conservation standards for ceiling fans would save a significant amount of energy," a proposed rule from the DOE published on June 22 said.
The proposed standards would impact most varieties of ceiling fans, including standard varieties used in households.
"These proposed standards, which are required by Congress, wouldn't take effect until 2028, would give Americans more energy efficient options to choose from, and would save hardworking taxpayers up to $369 million per year, while substantially reducing harmful air pollution—a crucial fact that some have conveniently failed to mention," a DOE spokesperson told Newsweek.
In the proposal, the DOE outlined the potential climate benefits from the energy conservation standards, which could result in cumulative emission reductions of 18.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, 4.5 thousand tons of sulfur dioxide, 31.3 thousand tons of nitrogen oxides, 141,000 tons of methane, 0.15 thousand tons of nitrous oxide and 0.03 tons of mercury.
"The proposed standards for ceiling fans are projected to yield significant environmental benefits," it said.
If the standards are implemented, ceiling fan owners could see energy savings with the new energy-efficient fans by saving $16.69 over the lifespan of the fan for standard ceiling fans.
However, the cost borne by the ceiling fan industry could be hefty, with conversion costs estimated at $107.2 million. The costs could cause as many as 30 percent of small ceiling fan manufacturers to go out of business, Fox Business reported.
The comment period for the proposal closed on August 21, and the DOE is in the midst of reviewing all comments, data and information. If the proposed rule is passed, standard residential ceiling fans complying with the rule would cut electricity costs by 40 percent for fan operation when compared with the least efficient fans on the market. The purchase price for the energy-efficient fans would increase by about $10, and the DOE estimated that the increase in cost would be covered by energy bill savings within four years.
Conservatives haven't always responded kindly to improved standards for household appliances when a new standards proposal surfaces. When the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced it would consider regulations that could mitigate the indoor air quality risk of gas stoves, critics lashed out over inaccurate fears that the Biden administration would seize their gas stoves.
Biden is not the only president who has pursued changes that would reduce energy use. A ban on incandescent lightbulbs emitting less than 45 lumens per watt went into effect on August 1. The ban stemmed from a 2007 law passed under George W. Bush's administration, and the Biden administration updated the law in 2022.
The ban was a political measure to shift usage toward LED lights, which are more energy-efficient. The move is expected to reduce Earth's carbon emissions by 222 million metric tons before 2053, according to the DOE.
First, they went after your car.Then, they targeted your gas stoves.Now, they are coming for your ceiling fans.America will continue to reject the Biden Climate Police’s authoritarianism.
Regardless of the energy savings, the ceiling fan proposal has already garnered criticism, mostly from conservatives.
"From day one it was clear that @POTUS was not on the side of America's small businesses. Even ceiling fans aren't safe from his bureaucratic overreach," the House Committee on Small Business posted on X, formerly Twitter, on Friday afternoon.
"First, they went after your car. Then, they targeted your gas stoves. Now, they are coming for your ceiling fans," U.S. Representative Ben Cline, a Republican from Virginia, posted. "America will continue to reject the Biden Climate Police's authoritarianism."
However, other people are pushing back against the claims that the Biden administration would seize ceiling fans: "We are not coming for your ceiling fans. Has anyone lost their gas stove yet?" Florida State Representative and Democrat Jared Moskowitz posted.
Update 08/25/23, 3:06 p.m. ET: This article was updated with comment from the DOE and additional information.