This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.
New Energy Efficiency Standards for Residential Clothes Washers and Dishwashers to Save Consumers Billions on Energy Bills
As part of the Obama Administration's focus on taking sensible steps to save families money while also reducing energy consumption, the Department of Energy today announced common-sense energy efficiency standards for residential clothes washers and dishwashers that will save consumers $20 billion in energy and water costs. The new standards for both clothes washers and dishwashers were informed by important feedback from manufacturers, consumer groups, and environmental advocates, producing significant savings while retaining consumer choice. The clothes washers standard announced today will save households approximately $350 over the lifetime of the appliance, while offering consumers a variety of more efficient machine choices, and as a result of the standards for dishwashers, home dishwashers will use approximately 15% less energy and more than 20% less water, directly providing consumers with savings on monthly bills.
Today's announcement is only the most recent in a series of common-sense efficiency standards made by the Obama Administration that have covered nearly 40 different products, and will together save consumers nearly $350 billion on their energy bills through 2030.
"Working with consumer, industry and environmental groups to develop common-sense energy-saving appliance standards is an important part of the Obama Administration's all-of-the-above approach to American energy and the Energy Department's efforts to reduce energy costs for consumers," said Secretary Chu. "Collectively, these energy efficiency standards for everyday appliances have saved American families hundreds of billions of dollars and offered consumers more efficient, less costly appliances without sacrificing performance."
"DOE's implementation of these new standards reflects the consensus agreement reached by stakeholders. It will result in tremendous energy savings for the consumer while preserving product choice and minimizing manufacturer impact. The home appliance industry is proud of its long history of energy efficiency advancements benefiting consumers and applauds DOE for working with stakeholders to increase energy efficiency," said Joseph McGuire, President of the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers.
"Clothes washer and dishwasher energy efficiency has improved dramatically over the past two decades while also improving clothes washing performance and maintaining dish washing performance," said Steve Nadel, Executive Director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. "These improvements have been driven by a combination of manufacturer and utility efforts, Energy Star, federal tax incentives, and minimum efficiency standards. We support the new DOE minimum efficiency standards which will raise the floor, helping to spur further efficiency improvements.
The new standards—developed in partnership with companies like Whirlpool, General Electric and LG Electronics, industry advocates, national environmental organizations, consumer groups, and other stakeholders—build on previous minimum energy efficiency requirements for clothes washers and dishwashers and go into effect starting in 2015 and 2013, respectively.
Today, clothes washers and dishwashers account for approximately 3% of residential energy use and more than 20% of indoor water use in homes across the country. The new standards for clothes washers will reduce the energy consumption of front-loading clothes washers by 15% and reduce water consumption by 35%, while top-loading washers will save 33% on energy and 19% on water use.
As companies look for ways to further boost the efficiency of their products, companies will continue to undertake additional research and development, partner with entrepreneurs working on new efficiency technologies, and invest in manufacturing innovations that will help drive better, more efficient appliances and broader job creation across the economy. For example, according to a 2011 trade report, standards laws signed by President Reagan and both Presidents Bush and DOE rulemakings generated approximately 340,000 jobs in 2010 alone.
The standards announced today are part of the Obama Administration's broader all-of-the-above approach to American energy and the Department of Energy's efforts to help families save money by saving energy. Other energy and cost-saving standards adopted under the Obama Administration include:
- March 2009: 14 consumer and commercial products with standards prescribed in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA 2007), including dishwashers, general service incandescent lamps and residential clothes washers
- April 2009: Microwaves, kitchen ranges and ovens
- July 2009: General service fluorescent lamps and incandescent reflector lamps
- July 2009: Commercial heating, air-conditioning and water-heating equipment
- August 2009: Beverage vending machines
- December 2009: Commercial clothes washers
- February 2010: Small electric motors
- March 2010: Residential water heaters, direct heating equipment and pool heaters
- April 2011: Residential clothes dryers and room air conditioners
- June 2011: Residential furnaces and residential central air conditioners and heat pumps
- September 2011: Residential refrigerators, freezers, and refrigerator-freezers
- October 2011: Fluorescent lamp ballasts
- November 2011: Direct heating equipment
- May 2012: Residential clothes washers
- May 2012: Residential dishwashers
A full list of appliance efficiency standards is available on the Department of Energy website.
DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy invests in clean energy technologies that strengthen the economy, protect the environment, and reduce dependence on foreign oil. Learn more about the test procedures and minimum efficiency standards for residential appliances and commercial equipment developed by DOE's Appliances and Commercial Equipment Standards Program and other building technologies projects.