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

December 19, 2005

DOE Sets Tougher Standards for Energy Star Clothes Washers

DOE announced on December 19th that clothes washers will soon have to meet tougher standards to qualify for the Energy Star label. The new standards will take effect on January 1st, 2007, and will increase the efficiency of Energy Star-labeled clothes washers up to 37 percent, saving as much as $70 million in energy bills and 8.9 billion gallons of water each year. Energy Star is a voluntary program co-sponsored by DOE and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

To earn the Energy Star label, clothes washers will have to meet two criteria: the Modified Energy Factor (MEF) and the Water Factor (WF). The MEF is the capacity of the clothes container divided by the total energy consumption per cycle, including washing machine energy, water-heating energy, and dryer energy. The higher the MEF, the more efficient the clothes washer. The WF is the gallons of water used per cycle divided by the cubic feet of washer capacity (for example, a three-cubic-foot washer using 24 gallons per cycle has a WF of 8). The lower the WF, the less water the machine uses. The new standards will require a minimum MEF of 1.72 cubic feet per kilowatt-hour per cycle, up from 1.42, and a maximum WF of 8. The current standards don't include a WF requirement. See the DOE press release and the Clothes Washers Key Product Criteria page on the Energy Star Web site.