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Covered Product Category: Residential Dishwashers

The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) provides acquisition guidance for residential dishwashers, a product category covered by the ENERGY STAR program. Federal laws and requirements mandate that agencies purchase ENERGY STAR-qualified products in all product categories covered by this program and any acquisition actions that are not specifically exempted by law.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets the efficiency criteria for this product category in its ENERGY STAR program requirements. 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 residential dishwasher efficiency levels and product specification information, and a list of qualified products.


This acquisition guidance and associated ENERGY STAR program requirements apply to standard (30-inch wide) built-in and portable dishwashers designed and manufactured for residential use. All other dishwashing products are excluded, including but not limited to compact residential dishwashers, commercial dishwashers, flight-type dishwashers, and products covered by other ENERGY STAR program 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 Schedules program and online shopping network, GSA Advantage! DLA offers them through the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia and online through 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 residential dishwashers through DLA sources, look for models with the ENAC "FH" at the end of the NSN.

The United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC) is a worldwide classification system for eCommerce. It contains more than 50,000 commodities, including many used in the federal sector, each having a unique eight-digit, four-level identification code. Using the UNSPSCs will assist buyers with identifying covered product categories and improve record keeping. The UNSPSCs for residential (domestic) dishwashers is 52141505.


FEMP has calculated that the required ENERGY STAR-qualified residential dishwasher saves money if priced no more than $20 above the less efficient model. The best available model saves even more: up to $ 145. The cost-effectiveness example and associated assumptions are provided in Table 1.

Performancea Best Availableb ENERGY STARc Less Efficientd
Annual Energy Use 180 kWh 295 kWh 307 kWh
Annual Energy Cost $16 $27 $28
Water Consumption per Cycle (gallons) 2.2 4.3 5.0
Annual Water Use (gallons) 473 914 1075
Annual Energy and Water Cost $18 $31 $32
Lifetime Energy and Water Cost $210 $335 $355
Lifetime Cost Savings $145 $20 ======
a Based on the following: Annual energy use is based on the test method referenced in 10 CFR 430, Subpart B, Appendix C, and water consumption is based on the test method referenced in 10 CFR 430, Subpart B, Appendix C1, for a standard residential dishwasher and hot water supplied by an electric resistance water heater. Annual water use is based on 215 cycles per year. The annual energy and water cost is calculated using an assumed electricity price of $0.09 per kWh, the average electricity price at federal facilities, and combined water and sewer rate of $4.50 per 1,000 gallons. Lifetime energy and water cost is the sum of the discounted value of the annual energy and water cost and assumed product life of 13 years. Future utility price trends and a 3% discount rate are from Energy Price Indices and Discount Factors for Life-Cycle Cost Analysis - 2013: Annual Supplement to NIST Handbook 135 and NBS Special Publication 709 (NISTIR 85-3273-28).
b Based on the December 2014 ENERGY STAR Qualified Products List. More efficient models may have been introduced to the market since this acquisition guidance was published.
c Federal purchases must be of ENERGY STAR-qualified products that meet or exceed ENERGY STAR efficiency levels.
d The less efficient model represents typical products used in non-federal applications.



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 up-front cost (if any) compared to a less-efficient option. ENERGY STAR considers up-front costs and lifetime energy savings when setting required efficiency levels. Federal purchasers can assume that ENERGY STAR-qualified products are life cycle cost-effective; however, users wishing to determine cost-effectiveness for their application may do so using ENERGY STAR's Excel-based Appliance Savings Calculator. This calculator allows the user to input hot water fuel type, cycles per week, and local utility costs. The output section automatically displays results based on the user's inputs.


ENERGY STAR-qualified products may not be life cycle cost-effective in locations with very low rates for electricity or natural gas. For most applications, purchasers will find that energy-efficient products have the lowest life cycle cost.

Agencies may claim an exception to federal purchasing requirements through a written finding that no ENERGY STAR-qualified product is available to meet functional requirements, or that no ENERGY STAR-qualified product is life cycle cost-effective for the specific application. Additional information on federal requirements is available.


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. Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 23.206 requires agencies to insert the clause at FAR section 52.223-15 into contracts and solicitations that deliver, acquire, furnish, or specify energy-consuming products for use in government facilities. FEMP recommends that agencies incorporate efficiency requirements into both the technical specification and evaluation sections of solicitations.


ENERGY STAR-qualified residential dishwashers save water in addition to energy. In areas experiencing severe drought conditions, consider replacing older dishwashers with water conserving ENERGY STAR models.

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

Some utilities offer rebates or other incentives for the purchase of ENERGY STAR-qualified residential dishwashers. Use the ENERGY STAR Rebate Finder to see if your local utility offers these incentives.


Dishwashers require the hottest water of all household uses, typically 135° Fahrenheit (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.

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

Updated January 2015