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Covered Product Category: Air-Cooled Ice Makers

ENERGY STAR Qualified ProductsThe Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) provides acquisition guidance and Federal efficiency requirements for air-cooled ice makers, which are covered by the ENERGY STAR program. Federal laws and executive orders mandate that agencies meet these efficiency requirements in all procurement and acquisition actions that are not specifically exempted by law.

Manufacturers display the ENERGY STAR label on complying models. Check the qualified products list maintained on the ENERGY STAR website to see if a model is ENERGY STAR-qualified.

Meeting Energy Efficiency Requirements for Air-Cooled Ice Makers

For the most up-to-date efficiency levels required for this product category, visit the ENERGY STAR Product Specifications website. For more information, or for a point of contact, visit the Resources for Energy-Efficient Products page.

Reducing Energy Costs: Save Up to $1,540 When You Buy ENERGY STAR-Qualified Products

FEMP has calculated1 that the required ENERGY STAR-qualified product is cost effective if priced no more than $1,275 above the less efficient model. The most efficient model saves even more: $1,540. In facilities that serve three meals per day and operate 365 days per year, such as VA medical centers or dining halls on military bases, the savings will be greater. ENERGY STAR has an Excel-based calculator for air-cooled ice makers on its website that agencies can use to more accurately estimate the energy and cost savings. The complete cost effectiveness example and associated assumptions are provided in table 1.

Table 1. Lifetime Savings for Efficient Air-Cooled Ice Makersa
  ENERGY STAR Best Availableb ENERGY STAR Requiredc Less Efficientd
Annual Ice Production (lb) 75,000 75,000 75,000
Energy Consumption Rate (kWh/100 lb) 6.8 7.0 9.8
Annual Energy Use (kWh/year) 5,100 5,250 7,350
Annual Energy Cost $460 $473 $662
Lifetime Energy Cost $2,840 $2,925 $4,095
Lifetime Energy Cost Savings $1,255 $1,170 ==========
Potable Water Use (gallons/100 lb) 16.3 25.0 30.0
Annual Water Use (gallons) 12,225 18,750 22,500
Annual Water Cost $55 $84 $101
Lifetime Water Cost $345 $525 $630
Lifetime Water Cost Savings $285 $105 =========
Total Lifetime Savings $1,540 $1,275 =========

a More-efficient products may have been introduced to the market since this information was published.
b The efficiency of the Best Available models was obtained from the ENERGY STAR List of Qualified Products.
c Federal purchases must be of ENERGY STAR–qualified products that meet or exceed ENERGY STAR efficiency levels.
d The less efficient column represents the lowest efficiency products currently available on the market.

 

ENERGY STAR Is Cost Effective

An efficient product is cost effective when the lifetime energy savings (from avoided energy costs over the life of the product, discounted to present value) exceed the additional upfront cost (if any) compared to a less efficient option. ENERGY STAR and FEMP consider upfront costs and lifetime energy savings when setting required efficiency levels so that Federal purchasers can assume that ENERGY STAR–qualified and products meeting FEMP-designated efficiency requirements are life cycle cost effective. However, users wishing to determine cost effectiveness for their application may do so using the air-cooled ice maker energy and cost calculator.

Exceptions

Products meeting FEMP-designated efficiency requirements or ENERGY STAR performance specifications may not be life cycle cost effective in certain low-use applications, such as when a device is being purchased for backup purposes and will remain in off mode for most of its useful life. For most other average or high-use applications, purchasers will find that energy-efficient products have the lowest life cycle cost.

Operating conditions vary from facility to facility. Buyers wishing to determine cost effectiveness for a specific application may do so using an Excel-based calculator for air-cooled ice makers on the ENERGY STAR website. Input site-specific information such as the machine capacity and/or rate for electricity and this cost calculator will automatically display energy use and cost savings that more accurately reflect your conditions.

Buying Energy-Efficient Air-Cooled Ice Makers

This product category includes batch and continuous type air-cooled ice makers that produce cube, flake, and nugget ice. Ice and water dispensing systems and air-cooled remote condensing units designed only for connection to remote rack condensers are excluded. Water-cooled ice machines are covered by a separate FEMP-designated product overview.

In the Federal sector, ice makers are used in large food service facilities such as the dining halls on military bases and cafeterias in GSA and other office buildings. In addition, they are used for patient care in VA medical centers and convalescent hospitals.

Federal supply sources for air-cooled ice makers are the General Services Administration (GSA) and Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). GSA sells air-cooled ice makers through its Multiple Awards Schedule program and online shopping network, GSA Advantage! DLA sells them through its online supply network, DOD EMALL. Products sold through DLA are codified with 13-digit National Stock Numbers (NSN) and, in some cases, a two-letter Environmental Attribute Code (ENAC). When buying air-cooled ice makers through DLA sources, look for models with the ENAC "GC" attached to the end of the NSN. Whether buying from a Federal supply or commercial source, make sure that the model qualifies for the ENERGY STAR label. Visit the ENERGY STAR website for a list of qualified products.

These requirements apply to all forms of procurements, including guide and project specifications; construction, renovation, repair, maintenance and energy service contracts; lease agreements; and solicitations for offers. Energy performance requirements should be included in all evaluations of solicitation responses. Buyers shall insert the standard clause from FAR section 52.223-15 into contracts and solicitations that deliver, acquire, furnish, or specify energy consuming products for use in Federal facilities. Agencies can claim an exception to these requirements through a written finding that no ENERGY STAR-qualified or FEMP-designated product is available to meet the functional requirements, or that no such product is life cycle cost effective for the specific application.

Buyer Tips: Choosing Efficient Products

The type of ice maker purchased has significant energy use implications. Ice making head (IMH) type units do not contain storage bins, but are generally designed to accommodate a variety of bin sizes. Federal buyers need to be aware that the additional energy use associated with the storage bins is not included in the reported energy consumption for IMH units. Self-contained units (SCU) have an ice making mechanism and storage bin integrated into the same cabinet or housing. Remote condensing units (RCU) have a condenser located separately from the ice making mechanism, usually outdoors or in an unconditioned equipment room. An advantage to this arrangement is that heat from the ice making process is discharged outside of the conditioned space, thereby not adding to the building's air conditioning loads and costs.

The type of ice made also has an impact on water use.

  • Cube ice, which is harder and clearer than other types, has benefits for use in beverages. Its clear appearance, thermal properties, and long-lasting nature are ideal for cooling beverages without diluting them. In addition, the absence of minerals and sediment reduce the impact it has on the taste of a drink, which is important for some alcoholic beverages. Cube ice is typically made in batch type machines that require more water than other ice makers.
  • Flake ice is softer and cloudier than cube ice. These properties make it ideal for use in food processing and displays such as those in grocery stores and fish markets.
  • Nugget ice is flake ice that has been compressed into larger pieces. As such it can be used in much the same way as cube ice, especially for beverage cooling when appearance is not an issue and some dilution can be tolerated. 

Flake and nugget ice are made using the continuous process, which uses 5 to 10 gallons less water per 100 pounds of ice made than the batch type process. Since the continuous ice making process uses less water, nugget ice is becoming more common in some large food service facilities. In addition, since nugget ice is easier to chew, it is frequently used in healthcare facilities because it poses less of a choking hazard to patients.

In situations where an ice maker can be connected to a cooling tower that operates year round, Federal agencies can save additional energy by using water-cooled ice machines. For more information, see the FEMP-designated product overview for water-cooled ice machines.

User Tips: Using Products More Efficiently

Due to their high electricity demand, ice machines should be operated during off-peak hours if possible. This requires purchasing larger storage bins and installing a clock or timer to prevent the machine from making ice during peak hours (usually between 12:00 and 6:00 p.m.). This operating strategy can reduce demand charges, resulting in additional cost savings.

Air-cooled ice makers need sufficient clearance around them to ensure proper airflow. Air-cooled ice makers draw ambient air into their refrigeration systems to remove the heat from the ice making process. Obstructing this airflow, for example by positioning the unit too close to a wall or a low ceiling, will negatively impact this heat transfer and lower the efficiency of the unit. Each manufacturer has a different location (i.e., front, rear, left, right, or top) for the air intake and exhaust on their products. Staff need to be aware of this so they don't block the air inlets and outlets.

Finding More Information

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory provided supporting analysis for this acquisition guidance.

Updated February 2013

1Based on the following assumptions: Assumes the air-cooled ice maker is a 400-pound, self-contained ice maker operated at 75% capacity in a food service facility serving two meals per day, 250 days per year (e.g., a cafeteria in a GSA building). The performance of the less-efficient models meets Federal Appliance Standards (10 CFR 431 Subpart H), while that of the required model meets the ENERGY STAR Commercial Ice Machine Program Requirements (version 2.0). The most efficient model was selected from the ENERGY STAR qualified products list (posted December 2012).

The energy consumption rate is based on Federal Standard (10 CFR 431 Subpart H). The assumed rate of electricity is $0.09 per kWh, the average at U.S. Federal facilities. Lifetime energy cost is the sum of the discounted value of annual energy cost with an assumed ice maker life of 7 years. Future electricity price trends and a 3% discount rate are based on Federal guidelines (NISTIR 85-3273-27) and are from the Annual Supplement to NIST Handbook 135 and NBS Special Publication 709, Energy Price Indices and Discount Factors for Life Cycle Cost Analysis, November 2012.