California has a history of strong energy efficiency standards starting with the passage of the Warren-Alquist Act in 1974, which mandated that the Energy Commission create energy efficiency standards based on life cycle cost effectiveness. These standards, first adopted in 1976 for refrigerators and air conditioners, serve a vital function in reducing statewide energy demand.

The Title 20 standards only apply to appliances sold or offered for sale in California. The standard does not apply to appliances sold wholesale in California for final retail sale outside the state or those designed and sold exclusively for use in recreational vehicles or other mobile equipment. Also, it is not enough that the appliances meet the standards; to be considered in compliance, most of the regulated appliances must be certified to the California Energy Commission demonstrating that the standards are met.

Which Appliances?

The State of California’s appliance standards cover the following major product categories; the effective dates of the current standard is shown in parentheses:

Where are the Regulations?

The current California Appliance Efficiency Regulations that went into effect in December 2007 are available at:

Product Testing and Certification

Most products must be certified to the California Energy Commission. Please see Information for Manufacturers for details. Certification requirements currently do not apply to walk-in coolers, walk-in freezers, low-profile ceiling fans, and external power supplies.

The California Energy Commission maintains a database of all appliance efficiency data certified to it, listing features and energy use statistics.  This data is made publicly available (at no cost) through the Appliance Efficiency Program website.