This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

September 09, 2003

DOE Releases New Test for "Smart" Dishwashers

Consumers will get more accurate energy efficiency labeling on new dishwashers, thanks to a new test procedure released by DOE on September 9th. The test, which measures the energy consumption in "smart" dishwashers—those with soil sensors—uses three different specified loads of food-soiled dishes to approximate realistic home use. Previous tests used clean dishes that did not trigger the sensors, and therefore did not report dishwasher energy use as accurately as the new test can.

Manufacturers use DOE's test procedures for residential appliances such as dishwashers to calculate the annual energy use and energy cost of every model sold. This energy information provides the core data for the Federal Trade Commission's EnergyGuide labels, which allow consumers to compare the energy efficiency of new appliances. See the DOE press release.

"Smart" dishwashers aren't the only energy-saving innovation available for your kitchen: according to recent tests by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), new magnetic-induction ranges also hold a significant potential for saving energy. The ranges use a high frequency, alternating magnetic field to induce heating in the bottom of iron-based cookware placed on the range. Because energy is transferred directly to the cookware, the ceramic surface of the range stays cool. According to EPRI, the range achieves an efficiency of 92 percent (losing only 8 percent of its energy as waste heat), compared to 72 percent for a standard radiant electric range, 47 percent for a residential gas range, and 30 percent for a commercial gas range. In field tests, commercial kitchens using the range were also cooler, which suggests that they could save on air conditioning costs. See the EPRI press release.