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U.S. Department of Energy Implements More Stringent Criteria for ENERGY STAR® Clothes Washers, Expands CFL Program

March 7, 2008 - 10:52am

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WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced more stringent criteria for clothes washers and expanded the categories of compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFL) under the ENERGY STAR® label.  Based on first-year projected sales data, approximately 1.9 million ENERGY STAR®-qualified clothes washers will be sold, saving American families up to $92.4 million annually on their water and utility bills.  CFL products under the ENERGY STAR® label - which include new categories for CFLs that contain less mercury, new candelabra products, and more rigorous testing procedures - are expected to save Americans approximately $30 billion in utility costs over the next five years.  More stringent criteria, combined with a greater diversity of energy-saving product options, will allow Americans to more efficiently use energy in their homes, and aims to further the President's Advanced Energy Initiative, which seeks to fundamentally change the way this Nation uses power.

"The ENERGY STAR® program provides consumers with greater options for purchasing energy efficient products to save money and energy," DOE Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Andy Karsner said.  "More stringent ENERGY STAR® criteria for clothes washers and the expansion of the CFL program means more consumers can make smart energy choices and help further the Nation's goal of increasing efficiency and energy productivity, resulting in significant energy savings and greater economic competitiveness."

The more stringent requirements for clothes washers carrying the ENERGY STAR® label will take effect in two phases.  In order to qualify, clothes washers must be a minimum of 43 percent more efficient than current federal energy efficiency standards with a maximum Water Factor (WF) of 7.5, as of July 1, 2009.  As of January 1, 2011, clothes washers must be a minimum of 59 percent more efficient with a maximum WF of 6.0.  WF measures the water efficiency and is calculated as gallons of water used per cubic foot of capacity - the lower the WF, the more efficient the clothes washer.

Following the 2011 criteria change for clothes washers, consumers are expected to save $120 million on utility bills annually, 11.2 billion gallons of water, and 659 million kilowatt hours of electricity.  Current ENERGY STAR-qualified clothes washers use 75 percent less energy than clothes washer models manufactured in 1980.  The ENERGY STAR® criteria for clothes washers, last modified in January 2007, were drafted with input from stakeholders and public review and comment.

In addition to the expansion of eligible product categories for CFLs, the new criteria limits, for the first time, the amount of mercury that CFLs can contain to less than 5 milligrams for most bulbs, expands the program to include candelabra-based CFLs, incorporates a third-party testing program for all bulbs effective in November of 2008, tightens lamp color requirements, and adds high-heat testing requirements for reflector products.  Revised ENERGY STAR® criteria for CFLs takes effect December 2, 2008 - 270 days from issuance of criteria.  The criteria for CFLs were last updated in 2003.

ENERGY STAR® is a joint U.S. Department of Energy-U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program, formed in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership that seeks to reduce air pollution through increased energy efficiency.  DOE and EPA work to offer businesses and consumers energy-efficient solutions to save energy and money, while also helping to protect our environment.  More than 9,000 organizations have joined ENERGY STAR® as partners committed to improving the energy efficiency of products, homes and businesses.  The ENERGY STAR® label appears on more than 40 kinds of consumer products.  To learn more about ENERGY STAR®, and to view the revised program requirements, visit EnergyStar.gov or call 1-888-STAR-YES.

Media contact(s):

Chris Kielich, (202) 586-4940

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