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Covered Product Category: Residential Dishwashers

The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) provides acquisition guidance for residential dishwashers, which are an ENERGY STAR-qualified product category. Federal laws and requirements mandate that agencies meet these efficiency requirements in all procurement and acquisition actions that are not specifically exempted by law.

Most manufacturers display the ENERGY STAR label on complying models. For a model not displaying this label, check the manufacturer's literature to determine if it meets the efficiency requirements outlined by ENERGY STAR.

Performance Requirements for Federal Purchases

For the most up-to-date efficiency levels required by ENERGY STAR, look for the ENERGY STAR label or visit the ENERGY STAR Product Specifications website. For more information, contact the FEMP point of contact listed at the bottom of this page.

Buying Energy-Efficient Residential Dishwashers

ENERGY STAR's Product Specification applies to compact and standard capacity residential dishwashers only. Commercial and flight-type products are excluded. When purchasing residential dishwashers, specify or select models that are ENERGY STAR-qualified. A list of qualified products is available on the ENERGY STAR website. For products that do not display the ENERGY STAR logo, check the annual energy use listed on the yellow EnergyGuide label for models that meet requirements.

The Federal supply sources for residential dishwashers are the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). GSA sells residential dishwashers through its Multiple Awards Schedule program and online shopping network, GSA Advantage! DLA offers them through the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia and online through DOD E-MALL.

These requirements apply to all forms of procurement, including guide and project specifications; construction, renovation, repair, energy service, operation and maintenance (O&M) 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 life cycle cost effective for a specific application.

Buyer Tips

In housing units designed for one or two occupants, consider installing compact dishwashers. Since these products are designed to hold fewer place settings and service pieces than standard capacity dishwashers, they will fill more quickly and the occupants will more likely use them instead of hand washing. In addition, compact dishwashers are about six inches narrower than standard models and require less floor space, which is desirable in smaller housing units.

Many Federal office buildings have kitchen areas equipped with dishwashers. These requirements apply when residential dishwashers are used in these situations.

User Tips

Dishwashers require the hottest water of all household uses, typically 135°F to 140°F. However, these products are usually equipped with booster heaters to raise incoming water temperature by 15°F to 20°F. Setting the water heater between 120°F and 125°F and turning the dishwasher's booster on will provide sufficiently hot water while saving energy and also reducing the chances for scalding. Set dishwashers to "Air Dry" to save additional energy during the drying cycle.

Studies have shown that using fully-loaded dishwashers results in less energy and water consumption than washing the same amount of dishes by hand. The cleaning performance of products manufactured within the past 10 years has improved dramatically, even when washing heavily soiled dishes. Because of this, rinsing dishes prior to cleaning them in a dishwasher is unnecessary and wastes both water and energy. Encourage users to operate dishwashers only when full and to scrape food waste off of dishes instead of rinsing it off.

Estimating Energy and Cost Savings

ENERGY STAR has an Excel-based cost calculator for dishwashers. To modify the utility price, click on "Savings Calculator—Dishwashers," select the water heater type, and input the utility rates at your facility. The cost calculator will automatically display results that more accurately reflect your conditions.

Finding More Information

Federal supply sources are the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). GSA sells products through its Multiple Awards Schedules and GSA Advantage! DLA offers products through the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia and DOD EMALL.

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