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Covered Product Category: Residential Freezers

The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) provides acquisition guidance for residential freezers, 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 up-to-date residential freezer efficiency levels and product specification information, and a list of qualified products.


This acquisition guidance and associated ENERGY STAR program requirements apply to electric upright, chest, and compact freezers. All other freezers are excluded, including but not limited to commercial and laboratory freezers and products covered by other ENERGY STAR program requirements.

The federal supply source for residential freezers is the General Services Administration (GSA) and Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). GSA sells freezers 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 freezers through DLA sources, look for models with the ENAC "LK" at the end of the NSN.

The United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC) is a worldwide classification system for eCommerce. It contains over 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) freezers is 52141506, domestic upright freezers is 52141507, and domestic chest freezers is 52141508.


FEMP has calculated that the required ENERGY STAR-qualified residential freezer saves money if priced no more than $43 above the less efficient model. The cost-effectiveness example and associated assumptions are provided in Table 1.

Performancea Best Availableb ENERGY STARc Less Efficientd
Annual Energy Use == 430 kWh 480 kWh
Annual Energy Cost == $39 $43
Lifetime Energy Cost == $371 $414
Lifetime Energy Cost Savings == $43 ======
a Based on the following: Annual energy use is calculated using the standard DOE test procedure for an 16.6 cubic foot capacity, upright freezer with automatic defrost. The annual energy cost is calculated using the annual energy use and an assumed electricity price of $0.09 per kWh, the average electricity price at federal facilities. Lifetime energy cost is the sum of the discounted value of the annual energy cost and assumed product life of 12 years. Future electricity prices 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 As of December 2014, no models in this product category exceeded the ENERGY STAR efficiency levels.
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 users to input different product types, capacities, 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. 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.


Select a freezer size and type that is appropriate for the amount of food stored. Oversized freezers increase purchase cost, require more space, and waste energy because of unused capacity. Chest freezers are more efficient than upright models because they typically have more insulation and cold air does not sink out of them when they are opened.

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


Set the freezer temperature between -5° Fahrenheit (F) and 0°F. Temperatures below this will unnecessarily increase energy use while providing no additional benefit to food storage. Be careful not to set the temperature above 0°F because doing so will shorten the time food items can be stored. Since few residential freezers display this information, use an inexpensive appliance thermometer to monitor the interior temperature and adjust the setting as necessary.

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

Updated January 2015