Federal government proposes new energy consumption standards for household appliances



The federal government is looking for ways to ensure that Canadians use energy efficient appliances.

Natural Resources Canada is considering updating the standards for household appliances such as refrigerators, ovens and washing machines.

The Home Appliance Manufacturers Association (AHAM) is all in favor of improving the energy efficiency of household appliances, but is concerned about how far lawmakers will push the new standards.

“Today’s devices are very energy efficient. So, for example, a modern refrigerator uses half the energy it did a few decades ago and less energy than a 60-watt light bulb, ”government relations director Meagan Hatch told Global News.

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In June, Canada and the United States signed an agreement to work together to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, which includes energy efficiency standards.

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This relieved manufacturers and retailers who feared Energy Star certified devices would become the benchmark, ultimately failing to meet regulations south of the border.

“Therefore (putting) retailers and consumers in a very difficult position in the sense that things should be made specifically for the Canadian market,” said Jason McLinton, vice president of regulatory affairs for the Retail Council of Canada. .

He highlighted the example of Canada and the United States on the regulation of other products like infant car seats and how the United States market has access to innovative products due to design regulations in Canada. .

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Ottawa began consultation on the proposal in May and extended it until the end of July.

A statement from Natural Resources Canada said: “… the evidence will support final decisions, including timing for implementation, ensuring supply chain readiness and that manufacturers have the time to adapt with predictability. and certainty.

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He added that manufacturers would not be required to join the Energy Star program, which is voluntary, and their products do not need to be Energy Star certified.

But the Retail Council of Canada noted that limiting stores to certain products would be a blow to consumer choice and another to those who can’t afford energy-efficient appliances, which tend to be more expensive.

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In addition to this regulatory change, manufacturers and retailers face a supply problem.

“Refrigerators, some members are reporting up to 50% backorders as it stands,” McLinton said.

He said the backlog is the result of a few factors.

There have been shipping delays due to a shortage of containers.

Customers have higher disposable income and can spend money on new devices, adding to the list.

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McLinton added that manufacturers compete for parts with manufacturers of other products, especially those used in smart devices that are also used in cellphones and tablets.

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“The wait times are already very, very long and it’s hard to imagine why they are offering this at this time, as families more than ever are relying on home appliances while working from home,” Hatch added.

Natural Resources Canada has said its intention is to prepare new rules for 2022 and implement them at a later date.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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