Appliance Standards

Appliance standards represent a cost-effective strategy to protect consumers and businesses and strengthen the state’s clean energy economy. Efficiency products save energy and water, reduce long-term operating costs, and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

On March 11, 2022, Governor Jay Inslee signed into law House Bill 1619. This legislation updated three existing appliance standards: commercial hot food holding cabinets, portable electric spas, and residential ventilating fans, and added three additional ones: air purifiers, commercial ovens and electric vehicle supply equipment. 

These changes build on the state standards passed into law in 2019 in HB 1444. Computers and monitors were also updated by rule and went into effect May 12, 2022. The standards are estimated to save Washington consumers and businesses $2 billion in energy and water costs.

The effective dates of the standards vary by product, but all are based on date of manufacture, not date of sale. Products already in stores or warehouses may be installed after the new standards take effect. The standards apply to manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and installers, rather than to individual consumers. The Appliance Standards Guidebook is a good resource that explains each product’s requirements in more detail.

Important updates

Draft Rules Filed: Updating Appliance Efficiency Standards

On November 22, 2023, the Washington Department of Commerce filed a CR-102 (PDF) and draft rules (PDF) for an ongoing rulemaking to update Commerce regulations in Chapter 194-24 WAC to reflect new versions of appliance efficiency standards for electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE), residential ventilating fans, and air purifiers.

Chapter 19.260 RCW establishes energy efficiency standards for multiple products (listed in RCW 19.260.030) that are sold, offered for sale, or installed in the state. The law also authorizes Commerce to adopt by rule a more recent version of any standard established in statute, in order to improve consistency with other comparable standards in other states. Implementing this authority, Commerce regularly updates its appliance standards through rule, including after the passage of HB 1619 concerning appliance efficiency standards (2022), and in 2021 to incorporate updated appliance standards for computer equipment.

These draft rules cover three standards:

  1. Electric vehicle charging equipment (WAC 194-24-200) –Energy Star 1.0 for EVSE takes effect Jan. 1, 2024. EPA has issued an updated EnergyStar standard. Manufacturers and advocates have encouraged Commerce to adopt the new standard.
  2. Residential ventilating fans (WAC 194-24-151) – An updated Washington standard takes effect Jan. 1, 2024. EPA has issued an updated EnergyStar standard. Manufacturers and advocates have encouraged Commerce to adopt the new standard.
  3. Air purifiers (WAC 194-24-187) – The initial Washington standard is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2024. The U.S. Department of Energy has adopted a federal standard, which will preempt the Washington standard.

Commerce hosted a public workshop on January 22, 2024 at 10:00 a.m. to collect verbal comments on the draft rules. You can access the webinar recording by following this link to the file.

Final Rules Filed: HB 1619 Rulemaking

On Mar. 9, 2023, the Washington Department of Commerce filed a CR-103 (PDF) to finalize rules as directed by ESHB 1619. This bill was passed by the Washington legislature in 2022 and signed into law by Governor Inslee.

The law directs Commerce to establish and update standards for a variety of household appliances and commercial equipment, including:

  • Air purifiers
  • Commercial hot food holding cabinets (HFHC)
  • Commercial ovens
  • Electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE)
  • Portable electric spas
  • Residential ventilating fans

Commerce is currently updating the 2021 Appliance Standards Guidebook to reflect these changes.

Commerce accepted feedback at a rulemaking workshop on Sep. 21, 2022. Commerce also accepted public comment at a hearing on Dec. 27, 2022 and written comment throughout the rulemaking process.

Update: Permanent rule effective January 1, 2023

On September 23, Commerce filed a CR-103 to establish an effective date of January 1, 2023 for the water heater standard in WAC 194-24-180. In consideration of the public comments received, Commerce finds the proposed effective date of January 1, 2023 reasonable based on available information concerning improvements in the supply conditions that prompted the suspension of the water heater standard in November 2021 (see concise explanatory statement below).

Concise Explanatory Statement

CommentAgency Response
Adopt the Jan. 1, 2023, effective date as proposedThank you for your comment.
Revise the proposed effective date to July 1, 2023.This proposed change to July 1, 2023 is not adopted. The proposed effective date of January 1, 2023, is reasonable based on available information concerning improvements in the supply conditions that prompted the suspension of the water heater standard in September 2021. For example, in its September 7, 2022, Beige Book, the US Federal Reserve Board found that lower fuel prices and cooling overall demand have alleviated cost pressures, especially freight shipping rates, since July 2022. Other commenters, including some manufacturers of water heaters covered by this standard, support or do not oppose the effective date as proposed. Based on available information, Commerce does not believe that a further delay of the rule’s effective date to July 1, 2023 would be in the public interest.

Background on this rulemaking

The appliance standards implemented by Commerce include a requirement that electric storage (tank) water heaters have a specific modular communications port to help utilities manage electricity demand for water heating. The rule took effect on January 1, 2021, for heat pump models and was scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2022, for electric resistance models. On November 1, 2021, Commerce suspended the water heater rule (WAC 194-24-180) for 120 days after a public comment period wherein the temporary suspension received widespread support from stakeholders. The standard was suspended an additional 120 days and, as required by statute, Commerce filed a CR-101 and CR-102 to establish a reasonable permanent effective date for this standard.

If you have questions about this rulemaking, please email appliances@commerce.wa.gov.

Electric Storage Water Heater Labeling or Marking Requirements

Commerce issued a regulatory advisory on March 20, 2020, providing limited guidance on electric storage water heater labeling and marking. 

Resources:

General Service Lamps

Commerce issued a regulatory advisory on March 12, 2020, providing limited guidance on the status of Washington standards for general service lamps.

Resources:

Legal Resources

Resources

Contacts

Liz Reichart, MPA
Sr. Energy Policy Specialist
Appliances@Commerce.wa.gov

Brittany Wagner, MPH
Appliance Standards Program Manager
Appliances@Commerce.wa.gov

Nick Manning
Legislative and Rulemaking Coordinator
Appliances@Commerce.wa.gov

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