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Department of Energy Announces Tougher Criteria for ENERGY STAR® Clothes Washers

March 30, 2005 - 11:09am


New Standards Estimated to Save Consumers over $52.8 Million Annually

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a continuing effort to improve America's energy conservation, the U.S. Department of Energy today announced more stringent criteria for clothes washers carrying the ENERGY STAR® label. The new, tougher ENERGY STAR® criteria which will greatly benefit consumers will also, for the first time, include water savings requirements. 

"President Bush's National Energy Policy calls for cleaner, more efficient technologies, and the ENERGY STAR® program is an important piece of that solution," said Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman.  "These new ENERGY STAR® clothes washer requirements will not only help American families keep more of their hard-earned money, but also will significantly bolster America's conservation efforts and ultimately our energy independence."

The Department of Energy projects that this new criteria could result in savings of over $52.8 million annually for American families.  The new washers will save over 185.7 million kWh (kilowatt hours) of energy per year, enough to light every household in Washington, D.C., for eight months; and approximately 8.9 billion gallons of water each year, equivalent to the amount of water that flows over Niagara Falls in four hours. 

The new criteria will go into effect on January 1, 2007, when tougher minimum efficiency standards for all clothes washers take effect.  Under these guidelines, ENERGY STAR®-qualified models will be 36 percent more efficient than the washers meeting the minimum requirements.

In 1997, less than one percent of clothes washers qualified for the ENERGY STAR® label.  Today, ENERGY STAR® clothes washers account for over 30 percent of all units sold throughout the United States, and more and more efficient models are becoming available each year.

The new criteria affect the Modified Energy Factor, or MEF, a composite measure of washer efficiency.  The higher the MEF, the more efficient the clothes washer.  The current MEF will be increased from 1.42 to 1.72.  The new criteria also sets the water factor at 8.0.  Water factor describes the amount of water used, with a lower water factor indicating less water used per cycle and higher water efficiency. 

The ENERGY STAR®  label appears on more than 40 kinds of consumer products.  To learn more about ENERGY STAR®, visit or call 1-888-STAR-YES.

Media contact:  Chris Kielich, 202/586-5806