Many people are looking to save money. One way to shave down those utility bills is to change up appliances in the home.

The Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee and the Senate Environment and Energy Committee have endorsed a proposal to update the state's energy standards for the first time in 15 years. The bill covers 17 residential and commercial appliances, ranging from lamps and shower heads to commercial fryers and faucets.

Advocates refer to the measure sponsored by Assemblymen Wayne DeAngelo, D-Mercer, Herb Conaway Jr. D-Burlington, and Andrew Zwicker, D-Middlesex, as "the best energy, water and climate policy you've never heard of."

DeAngelo said when there's talk about energy needs in New Jersey, it's all about the need to provide more renewable energy. But there's been a lack of discussion on energy efficiency.

"So this bill right here would set the standards so that we can have our appliances, our electrical appliances, our heating, our cooling systems for our water use less instead of generate more as a partnership to helping our environment going forward," he said.

Whether it's talking about dishwashers, light bulbs, air purifiers, faucets and more, there's an incredible amount of appliances and equipment that people buy that are inefficient. It produces more energy, thus creating waste, said DeAngelo.

By updating appliance efficiency standards, New Jersey consumers will save $132 million a year in utility bills by 2026, rising to nearly $400 million a year in 2035, according to research by the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, a national organization that works with businesses, environmental organizations and manufacturers for energy efficiency.

While it's cheap to buy equipment that uses more power, in the long run a consumer will see higher utility bills. DeAngelo said the idea is to get those bills down and have equipment available that uses less resources and less power.

Under the legislation, replacing appliances would not be mandatory. But when it's time to replace appliances or lighting systems, stores will only be selling models that meet the new energy and water standards.

"Reduced emissions, better air quality, enhanced health and significant cost savings are all benefits New Jersey will see from adopting new appliance standards," said Trina Malik of the The Nature Conservancy.

"They will also send a clear signal about New Jersey's business-friendly environment for energy efficiency and entice companies to expand their operations to the Garden State," said Leann Leiter, of the Energy Efficiency Alliance of New Jersey.

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