Energy and water efficiency standards released today by the U.S. Department of Energy will deliver clothes washers that use as much as 35% less energy and water and dishwashers that use about 14% less energy and 23% less water.
That means lower utility bills for consumers and big environmental benefits for us all — without sacrificing any of the cleaning performance consumers count on, according to a coalition of consumer, energy, and environmental groups.
“Consumers and the environment both come up big winners with these new national standards,” said Steven Nadel, Executive Director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. “These common-sense standards will save loads of energy, water, and money.”
The new standards are based on a joint recommendation developed by clothes washer manufacturers, consumer groups, energy- and water-efficiency advocates, and environmental organizations. The groups designed their recommendations both to be highly cost-effective for buyers and to preserve consumer choices such as between top- and front-loading clothes washers.
According to an analysis by ACEEE and the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, consumers of new clothes washers can expect to save between $400 and $600 in lower energy and water bills over the lives of clothes washers that meet the new standards compared to today’s basic models. Buyers of new dishwashers will save about $100. Lower utility bills will offset additional upfront costs within about two years for both products.
Taking into account increased upfront costs, DOE estimates total net dollar savings for U.S. consumers over a 30-year period will exceed $31 billion.
Based on the ratings published by Consumer Reports magazine, products sold today that are compliant with the new standards are among the best on the market. As a result, consumers will benefit from these substantial savings without giving up any cleaning performance.
All of Consumer Reports’ highest rated top- and front-loading models comply with the new standards and most top-rated dishwashers meet the new standards. These products all get high marks for washing performance. Currently available products that meet the new standards include highly featured models and more basic, low-price models. The new dishwasher standards take effect starting next year and the new clothes washer standards take effect starting in 2015.
President Ronald Reagan signed the original appliance efficiency standards into law in 1987. Today’s update marks the fourth time national standards for clothes washers have been improved and the third improvement for dishwashers.
As a result, energy use to complete a load of laundry has declined by 65% since the 1980s. Water savings have grown with the most recent standards: a new top-loading clothes washer will use about 20 gallons of water to clean a load of laundry compared to 40 gallons used by some new washers as recently as two years ago.
Clothes washer water use accounts for about 20% of household indoor water use and the new standards will halve the water used for washing clothes for the typical household.
Source: The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
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