Bill targets ‘energy hogs’ |

Bill targets ‘energy hogs’

Julie Sutor

DENVER ” Catching your favorite TV shows, taking a few laps in the pool or quenching your thirst at a local restaurant may someday be more energy-efficient activities in Colorado.

A bill requiring energy efficiency increases in 14 household and commercial appliances, including digital TV adapters, pool pumps and commercial ice-makers, has passed through the Colorado Senate and House of Representatives.

“These minimum standards get rid of the least efficient products ” the total energy hogs,” said Matt Baker, executive director of Environment Colorado, a statewide environmental group based in Denver. “It’s our state taking a stand against wasting energy.”

The legislation ” known as House Bill 1162 ” would prohibit the sale of appliances on the list that don’t meet the specified stronger standards. According to Baker, the potential energy savings could be significant enough to eliminate the need for one new natural gas plant in Colorado. And the energy savings could save Colorado households and businesses about $500 million in electricity bills through the next 25 years, he said.

Proponents say the proposed standards would also reduce fossil fuel emissions, impacts to air quality and dependence on foreign fuels and expensive natural gas.

“It’s a wonderful bill,” said state Representative Gary Lindstrom, a Democrat who represents Eagle and Summit counties and voted for HB 1162. “Hopefully, it will create a new awareness among consumers on how much of our resources we’re eating up.”

The Colorado Restaurant Association testified against the bill.

“It’s difficult for manufacturers and operators to have different standards in different states,” said Colorado Restaurant Association president Pete Meersman. “And even if some manufacturers decide to make equipment that conforms to Colorado standards, our selection of models and capacities may be limited.”

Meersman added that his organization would prefer rebates or purchase incentives ” not mandates ” to boost energy efficiency in kitchens.

But Lindstrom said he doesn’t think the legislation would negatively impact restaurants, because it wouldn’t require immediate replacement of appliances that don’t meet the proposed standards.

Rather, it would mandate the purchase of more energy efficient products when equipment needs replacing, beginning in 2008.

According to Environment Colorado, several other states, including California, Connecticut, Maryland and New Jersey, have already adopted similar energy efficiency standards for the products covered in HB 1162.

To become law, the bill requires Gov. Bill Owens’ signature.

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