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Covered Product Category: Refrigerated Beverage Vending Machines

The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) provides acquisition guidance for refrigerated beverage vending machines, which are covered by the ENERGY STAR program. Federal laws and requirements mandate that agencies meet these efficiency requirements in all procurement and acquisition actions that are not specifically exempted by law.

Meeting Efficiency Requirements for Refrigerated Beverage Vending Machines

ENERGY STAR sets efficiency requirements for refrigerated beverage vending machines in its product specification. Manufacturers meeting these requirements are allowed to display the ENERGY STAR label on complying models. Visit the ENERGY STAR website for the most up-to-date vending machine efficiency levels and product specification information, and a list of qualified vending machines.

Defining the Product Category

This acquisition guidance and associated ENERGY STAR product specification applies to new and remanufactured indoor (i.e., glass front) and indoor/outdoor (i.e., solid front) refrigerated beverage vending machines. Combination vending machines, large refreshment centers with refrigerated compartments, and machines with user-selected temperature setting below 36°F are excluded.

In the Federal sector, vending machines are common in the snack areas or kitchenettes of many facilities. Some buildings even have "vending areas" off of main corridors that contain many different types of vending machines. It is quite common for vending machines to be provided by a service vendor: See the Complying with Contracting Requirements section for more information about including efficiency requirements in service contracts.

The Federal supply sources for purchasing refrigerated beverage vending machines are the General Services Administration (GSA) and Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). GSA sells refrigerated beverage vending machines through its Multiple Awards Schedules 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 vending machines through DLA sources, look for models with the ENAC "KE" attached to the end of the NSN.

The United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC) is a worldwide classification system for use in eCommerce. It contains over 50,000 commodities, including many used in the Federal sector, each having a unique eight-digit, four-level (i.e., Segment, Family, Class, Commodity) identification code. Using the UNSPSCs will assist buyers with identifying covered product categories and improve record keeping. The UNSPSC for vending machines is 48111101.

Reducing Energy Costs: Save $140 When You Use Energy Star-Qualified Products

FEMP has calculated1 that the required ENERGY STAR–qualified product is cost-effective if priced no more than $140 above the less efficient alternative. The most efficient level saves the average user more money: $200. The complete cost-effectiveness example and associated assumptions are provided in Table 1.

  Best Availablea Model Required Model Less Efficient Model
Maximum Daily Energy Consumption (kWh) 3.30 3.71 4.69
Annual Energy Use (kWh/year) 1,205 1,354 1,711
Annual Energy Cost $108 $122 $154
Lifetime Energy Cost $480 $540 $680
Lifetime Energy Cost Savings $200 $140 ======
a More-efficient products may have been introduced to the market since this information was published.


Determining Cost-Effectiveness

An efficient product is cost-effective when the discounted savings (from avoided energy costs over the life of the product) exceed the additional up-front cost (if any) compared to a less efficient option. ENERGY STAR and FEMP consider up-front costs and lifetime energy savings when setting required efficiency levels so that Federal purchasers can assume ENERGY STAR-qualified and products meeting FEMP-designated efficiency requirements are life cycle cost-effective.

For most applications, purchasers will find that energy-efficient products have the lowest life cycle cost. In high-use applications or when energy rates are above the Federal average, purchasers may save more if they specify products that exceed the Federal efficiency requirements, as shown in the Best Available column above.


Products meeting FEMP-designated efficiency requirements or ENERGY STAR performance specifications may not be life cycle cost-effective in certain low-use applications, or in locations with very low rates for natural gas or electricity. In these cases, the agency may pursue an exception to the Federal procurement requirement.

Complying with Contracting Requirements

These requirements apply to all forms of procurement, including guide and project specifications; construction, renovation, repair, energy service, and operation and maintenance (O&M) contracts; lease agreements; and solicitations for offers. Energy performance requirements should be included in all evaluations of solicitation responses.

Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 23.206 requires Federal agencies to insert the clause at FAR section 52.223-15 in solicitations and contracts that deliver, acquire, furnish, or specify energy-consuming products. FEMP recommends that agencies incorporate efficiency requirements into both the technical specification and evaluation sections of solicitations. 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 a specific application. Additional information on Federal laws and requirements is available.

Vending machines are often part of a contractual arrangement with distributors in which these products are placed in Federal facilities at no charge. In return, Federal agencies provide space and the electrical power necessary to operate the vending machines. In some cases, the agency may receive a portion of the revenue from the beverage sales. Agencies must request that the refrigerated beverage vending machines provided through these contracts meet the current ENERGY STAR efficiency requirements.

Buyer Tips: Choosing Efficient Products

Beverage vending machines come in two classes. Class A machines are "fully cooled" and typically have glass fronts that display the beverages on sale and are labeled for "Indoor Use Only!" Class B refrigerated beverage vending machines typically have solid fronts, can be used outdoors, and utilize zone cooling where only small portion of the products stored in the machine are cooled (usually the next few items to be sold).

Vending machines come in many different sizes or capacities, typically stated in the number of cans or bottles. Larger machines use more energy and cost more to operate. Agencies should require the vendors to properly size the beverage vending machines placed in their facilities in order to avoid excessive energy use and its related cost.

Both new and remanufactured machines are eligible for ENERGY STAR recognition. When replacing refrigerated beverage vending machines, agencies should first check with their distributor to see if there are retrofit kits available that can be combined with existing models to meet ENERGY STAR performance requirements. ENERGY STAR–qualified remanufactured machine-component combinations are listed on the ENERGY STAR website.

User Tips: Using Products More Efficiently

ENERGY STAR–qualified vending machines are equipped with controls or software that put the lighting and/or refrigeration systems into a low power state at night, on weekends, or other periods of prolonged inactivity. Agency staff should request that the vendor activate the low power state most advantageous for their facility and periodically check that it is functioning properly (e.g., lights are turned off late at night or on weekends).

Finding More Information

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

Updated August 2014

1 Based on the following assumptions: Assumes Class A beverage vending machine with 21 cubic foot refrigerated volume operating 365 days per year. The performance of the less efficient model is assumed to just meet Federal Appliance Standards, while that of the required model meets the current ENERGY STAR eligibility criteria. The performance of the best available model was obtained from the ENERGY STAR List of Qualified Products (posted June 2014).

The maximum daily energy consumption (MDEC) is determined in accordance with 10 CFR Part 431 Subpart Q and 10 CFR Part 431.294. The annual energy use was calculated by multiplying the MDEC for each model by 365 days per year. The assumed rate of electricity is $0.09 per kWh, the average at Federal facilities throughout the United States. Lifetime energy cost is the sum of the discounted values of annual energy cost with an average refrigerated beverage vending machine life of 5 years. Future electricity price trends and a 3% discount rate are based on Federal guidelines (NISTIR 85-3273-28) 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 - 2013.