Energy Efficiency

Energy Efficiency and you

Why does energy efficiency matter?

The more energy efficient a consumer appliance is, the less it costs to run and the more you’ll save on your energy bill over the lifetime of the product. Although many people aren’t aware of the energy being used by their home appliances daily, products like dishwashers, refrigerators, and laundry machines account for about 13% of a household’s energy costs.

Why are there energy efficiency standards?

Appliances vary greatly in terms of energy efficiency and operating cost, but consumers can’t tell by appearance whether one appliance will require more energy and cost more to operate than another. Standards ensure a minimum level of energy performance, which means reduced energy consumption along with significant consumer energy bill savings over the operational life of their appliances.

Efficiency standards also prohibit the production and import or sale of appliances less efficient than minimum requirements established by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

How do energy efficiency standards benefit consumers?

National appliance standards currently in place save the typical U.S. household about $320 per year on energy bills. In addition to huge energy bill savings, the typical new refrigerator uses one-quarter the energy than in 1973—despite offering 20% more storage capacity and being available at half the retail cost. Since 1990, additional efficiency gains in household appliances include:

  • New clothes washers use 75% less energy
  • New dishwashers use more than 53% less energy
  • New air conditioners use about 50% less energy
  • New furnaces use about 10% less energy

Why are some products covered by efficiency standards and others aren’t?

DOE determines whether an appliance warrants a minimum efficiency standard in part by analyzing the following:

  1. Average household energy use of the product.
  2. Total energy use of the product across the country.
  3. Whether an improvement in energy efficiency is technologically feasible and economically justified.
  4. Whether a labeling rule (rather than a full-blown energy standard) would be sufficient to achieve maximum energy efficiency.

If DOE determines that the product warrants a minimum efficiency standard, DOE begins the standards initiation process. The appliance and equipment standards program has a rigorous, proven process that has led to extremely high levels of energy savings in its almost 30 years of existence.