New Efficiency Standards for Clothes Washers, Dishwashers Will Save $31 Billion

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released new energy efficiency standards that will reduce energy and water consumption in clothes washers some 35% and dishwashers will use 14% less energy and 23% less water.

Efficient clothes washers and dishwashers use better design and components such as motors and pumps to save on energy and water.

Compared to current basic models, new clothes washers will save $400-$600 in energy bills over their life, and about $100 for dishwashers.

Taking into account increased upfront costs, DOE estimates more than $31 billion in total savings over 30 years. Consumer Reports rates these products as among the highest quality on the market. 

The dishwasher standards take effect next year and the  clothes washer standards take effect in 2015.

DOE designed the standards based on consensus recommendations developed by manufacturers, consumer groups, energy and water efficiency advocates, and environmental organizations.

"Once again, these updated standards show that energy efficiency advocates can find common ground with manufacturers and consumer and environmental organizations on making leading-edge technology the ‘new normal’ to benefit everyone," says Kateri Callahan, President of the Alliance to Save Energy.

President Ronald Reagan signed the first original appliance efficiency standards into law in 1987; this is the fourth update  for clothes washers and the third for dishwashers. Over this period, the energy required to clean a load of laundry has dropped 65% and a new top-loading clothes washer will use half the water (20 gallons) of water compared to just two years ago. 

Clothes washer water use accounts for about 20% of household indoor water use. 

The standards are expected to save the equivalent of the annual electricity consumption of about 700,000 U.S. homes;  the natural gas needed to heat a half-million U.S. homes; the daily water consumed by three million Americans; and the annual carbon emissions of 1.3 million typical cars by 2025, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and The Appliance Standards Awareness Project.

Altogether, the 55 categories of consumer and commercial products covered by national efficiency standards, are resulting in cumulative savings of the energy required to meet the needs of the entire US economy for two years! That’s from their inception through 2035 – the new standards aren’t included in these figures.

Last year, DOE released new standards for refrigerators, the biggest energy hogs among household appliances. They will be 80% more efficient than those in the mid-1970s and 25% more efficient from those in use today.

DOE also established the first regional standards for central air conditioners and furnaces, as well as strengthened national standards for heat pumps.

National energy efficiency standards for common household and business products generated about 340,000 jobs in 2010.

And we’ve all heard about those controversial standards that are phasing out inefficient light bulbs, which is also proving to be a job creator.

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Comments on “New Efficiency Standards for Clothes Washers, Dishwashers Will Save $31 Billion”

  1. AnnieinKC

    Now if they’ll cap how much they can charge for the new energy-efficient items…it’s ridiculous to charge $1500 for a washer & dryer, and $29 for a light bulb. Singles, single parents & elderly can’t afford it. It shouldn’t be for just the two-income yuppies.

  2. Rona Fried

    When any new technology comes out it costs more, then the price comes down over time and with mass adoption. Same for flat screen TVs, digital cameras etc.which most people own.


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