California Appliance and Equipment Energy Efficiency Standards

August 24, 2023


Note: The federal government has imposed and updated appliance efficiency standards through several legislative acts,* and now has standards in place or under development for 30 classes of products. In general, states which had set standards prior to federal action may enforce their own standards until the federal standards take effect. States that had not set standards prior to federal action must use the federal standards. This summary addresses (1) state appliance standards that will be in place until the federal standards take effect and (2) products for which the federal government is not currently developing an efficiency standard. Much of the information in this summary comes from the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP). Visit the ASAP web site for comprehensive information about appliance standards.

California’s 2015 Appliance Efficiency Regulations (California Code of Regulations, Title 20, Sections 1601 through1609) were adopted by the California Energy Commission (CEC) in July 2015, replacing all previous versions of the regulations. Since then, several new regulations covered under Title 20 have gone into effect. Additionally, the state is phasing out the sale of fluorescent lighting. Screw-base CFL bulbs will be phased out on January 1, 2024, and pin-base CFL and fluorescent tubes will be phased out on January 1, 2025. 

The Regulations create standards for 20 categories of appliances, including standards for both federally-regulated and non-federally-regulated appliances. Of these products, the standards now apply to the following types of new products sold, offered for sale in California, except those sold wholesale in California for final retail sale outside the state and those designed and sold exclusively for use in recreational vehicles or other mobile equipment. The dates in parenthesis indicate the year the regulations were enacted, not the effective year.

  1.  Battery Chargers (2012)
  2. Compact Audio Equipment (2004)
  3. Compressors (2019)
  4.  Computers and computer systems (2016)
  5.  Deep-dimming fluorescent ballasts (2015)
  6. DVD Players (2004)
  7.  External Power Supplies (2012)
  8.  Faucets (2015)
  9.  General Service Lamps (2008)
  10.  Hot Food Holding Cabinets (2004)
  11.  Metal Halide Lamp Fixtures (2009)
  12.  Portable Air Conditioners (2019)
  13. Hot tubs (portable electric spas) (2019) 
  14.  Showerheads (2015)
  15.  Small-Diameter Directional Lamps (2016)
  16.  Spray Sprinkler Bodies (2019)
  17.   Televisions (2009)
  18.  Toilets (2015)
  19.  Urinals (2015)
  20.  Water Coolers (2004)

See regulations for specific types of appliances covered under these categories. Product-specific testing, certification, and labeling requirements are outlined in the regulations. 

California was the first state to initiate appliance efficiency standards in 1974 with the adoption of the Warren-Alquist Act, which instructed the CEC to promulgate efficiency standards. California has continued to upgrade its standards to remain consistent with new technologies. Most state standards programs have used California’s covered products, or a subset of these products, and its technical procedures as the basis for their efforts. The following appliance categories have open rulemakings: Amendments to Computers and Monitors (20-AAER-03); Portable Electric Spas (20-AAER-04); Air Filters (20-AAER-02).

* These acts include the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act of 1987, the Energy Policy Act of 1992, the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

Program Overview

Implementing Sector: State
Category: Regulatory Policy
State: California
Incentive Type: Appliance/Equipment Efficiency Standards
Web Site:
Start Date:
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
  • Lighting
  • Air conditioners
  • Compressed air
  • Other EE
  • Commercial Cooking Equipment
  • Personal Computing Equipment
  • Commercial Refrigeration Equipment
Equipment Requirements: Product-specific requirements are outlined in the regulations
Test Methods: Product-specific requirements are outlined in the regulations
Certification Requirements: Specified in standards
Review: Not specified
Implementing Agency: California Energy Commission


Name: Appliance Efficiency Regulations
Name: CA Public Resources Code § 25400, et seq.


Name: Appliance Efficiency Program
Address: 1516 Ninth Street, MS-25
Sacramento CA 95814-5512
Phone: (888) 838-1467

This information is sourced from DSIRE; the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States. Established in 1995, DSIRE is operated by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University.