According to a post by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), new ceiling fan standards proposed by the U.S Department of Energy could save about 11% of the energy used by ceiling fans. But the ACEEE argues, the energy savings would more than double if the Dept. of Energy adopted a standard level based on advanced motor technology for residential ceiling fans. That is under the proposed standard, residential fans can meet the new standard using more efficient induction motors. The ACEEE wants to see brushless motors required for residential units (as they now are for commercial fans).
Either way the new standards are expected to save a huge amount of energy. The ACEEE reports that 80 million U.S. households use at least one ceiling fan, and a quarter of all households use four or more ceiling fans. Ceiling fans meeting the proposed new standards could reduce national electricity consumption by about 80 billion kilowatt-hours - an amount equal to the annual energy consumption of over 7 million U.S. households - over the next 30 years.
There are currently no performance standards for ceiling fans. The proposed ones would require minimum energy efficiency levels, expressed as airflow delivered in cubic feet per minute per unit of power consumption in watts. To meet these performance requirements, manufacturers would likely have to use more-efficient motors, and optimize the fan design, such as by adjusting the blade pitch. The DOE estimates that the purchase price of ceiling fans complying with the new standards could increase by only about $12. The additional cost, it argues, would be covered by energy bill savings within two years. (The more efficient fans are expected to cut the electrical costs of operating the fans by about 40% compared with the least efficient fans on the market.)
While the new fan standards have only been proposed at this point, a final rule on ceiling light kits has also been passed. Most residential ceiling fans are sold with light kits, which are required to come packaged with light bulbs. Here, too, the ACEEE would have liked to see more stringent requirements that would have required LED bulbs. The DOE’s final rule, however, is expected to reduce the amount of energy used by ceiling fan lights by 3.6%. This final rule is due to come into effect in early 2019.