Purchasing Energy-Efficient Water-Cooled Ice Machines

You are here

The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) provides efficiency requirements and acquisition guidance for water-cooled ice machines. Federal laws and requirements mandate that agencies purchase FEMP-designated products or ENERGY STAR-qualified products in all product categories covered by these programs and in any acquisition actions that are not specifically exempted by law.

FEMP's efficiency requirements and acquisition guidance apply to ice-making head and self-contained-unit type water-cooled ice machines that generate cube ice at 60 grams (two ounces) or lighter using the batch ice-making process. Remote condensing units (RCCU) and ice machines that use the continuous ice-making process (i.e., flake and nugget) are excluded.

Air-cooled ice machines are covered by separate ENERGY STAR efficiency requirements and acquisition guidance.

This acquisition guidance was updated in January 2016.

Find Product Efficiency Requirements

Federal agencies must purchase water-cooled ice machines that are 15% or more efficient than allowed by federal standards. These ice machines must be connected to a cooling tower; single-pass cooling using city water is not allowed. If access to a cooling tower is not available or if the cooling tower does not operate year round, then an ENERGY STAR-qualified air-cooled ice machine must be used.

Federal purchases must meet or exceed the minimum requirements shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Efficiency Requirements for Water-Cooled Ice Machines
Machine Type Ice Harvest Rate Energy Use Potable Water Use
Self Contained Unit 50 to 100 lb/24 hours 8.1 kWh/100 lb or less Requirement Suspended
Self Contained Unit 101 to 150 lb/24 hours 7.3 kWh/100 lb or less Requirement Suspended
Self Contained Unit 151 to 200 lb/24 hours 6.6 kWh/100 lb or less Requirement Suspended
Self Contained Unit > 200 lb/24 hours 6.5 kWh/100 lb or less Requirement Suspended
Ice Making Head 50 to 300 lb/24 hours 5.3 kWh/100 lb or less Requirement Suspended
Ice Making Head 301 to 400 lb/24 hours 4.8 kWh/100 lb or less Requirement Suspended
Ice Making Head 401 to 500 lb/24 hours 4.3 kWh/100 lb or less Requirement Suspended
Ice Making Head 501 to 750 lb/24 hours 4.1 kWh/100 lb or less Requirement Suspended
Ice Making Head 751 to 1,435 lb/24 hours 3.5 kWh/100 lb or less Requirement Suspended
Ice Making Head > 1,436 lb/24 hours 3.4 kWh/100 lb or less Requirement Suspended


Energy use in Table 1 is measured in accordance with AHRI Standard 810 (I-P)-2012 with Addendum 1: Performance Rating of Automatic Commercial Ice Makers.

Make a Cost-Effective Purchase: Save $348 by Buying FEMP-Designated Products

FEMP has calculated that the required water-cooled ice machine model saves money if priced no more than $348 above the less efficient model. Table 2 compares these two models and calculates the lifetime cost savings of purchasing the efficient product.

Table 2. Lifetime Savings for Water-Cooled Ice Machines
Performance Required Model Less Efficient Model
Annual Ice Production 75,000 lb 75,000 lb
Energy Use Rate 4.10 kWh/100 lb 4.90 kWh/100 lb
Annual Energy Use 3,075 kWh 3,675 kWh
Annual Energy Cost $277 $331
Lifetime Energy Cost $1,782 $2,130
Lifetime Energy Cost Savings $348 --------
View the Performance and Model Assumptions for Table 2
Performance Column

Annual Ice Production: Assumes a water-cooled ice machine producing 300 pounds of ice per day, 250 days per year.

Energy Use Rate: Shown in kilowatt-hours per 100 pounds of ice made (kWh/100 lb).

Annual Energy Use: Based on the federal standard for this product category.

Annual Energy Cost: Calculated based on an assumed electricity price of $0.09/kWh, which is the average electricity price at federal facilities.

Lifetime Energy Cost: The sum of the discounted values of annual energy cost with an average water-cooled ice machine life of 7 years. Future electricity price trends and a 3% discount rate are from Energy Price Indices and Discount Factors for Life-Cycle Cost Analysis – 2015: Annual Supplement to NIST Handbook 135 and NBS Special Publication 709 (NISTIR 85-3273-30).

Lifetime Energy Cost Savings: The difference between the lifetime energy cost of the less efficient model and the lifetime energy cost of the required model or best available model.

Required Model Column

Calculated based on the current FEMP-designated efficiency requirements. Federal agencies must purchase products that meet or exceed these requirements.

Less Efficient Model Column

Calculated based on typical products used in non-federal applications.

Determine When FEMP-Designated Products Are Cost-Effective

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. FEMP considers up-front costs and lifetime energy savings when setting efficiency requirements. Federal purchasers can assume that ENERGY STAR-qualified products and products that meet FEMP-designated efficiency requirements are life cycle cost-effective. In high-use applications or when energy rates are above the federal average, purchasers may save more if they specify products that exceed federal efficiency requirements, as shown in the Required Model column above.

Claim an Exception to Federal Purchasing Requirements

Products meeting ENERGY STAR or FEMP-designated efficiency requirements may not be life cycle cost-effective in certain low-use applications or in locations with very low rates for electricity or natural gas. However, 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 FEMP-designated or ENERGY STAR-qualified product is available to meet functional requirements, or that no such product is life cycle cost-effective for the specific application. Learn more about federal product purchasing requirements.

Incorporate Federal Acquisition Regulation Language in Contracts

These mandatory requirements apply to all forms of procurement, including construction guide and project specifications; renovation, repair, energy service, and operation and maintenance (O&M) contracts; lease agreements; acquisitions made using purchase cards; 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 federal government facilities. To comply with FAR requirements, FEMP recommends that agencies incorporate efficiency requirements into technical specifications, the evaluation criteria of solicitations, and the evaluations of solicitation responses.

Find Federal Supply Sources

The federal supply sources for energy-efficient products are the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). GSA sells products through its Multiple Awards Schedules program and online shopping network, GSA Advantage!. DLA offers products through the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia and online through DOD EMALL. Products sold through DLA are codified with a 13-digit National Stock Number (NSN) and, in some cases, a two-letter Environmental Attribute Code (ENAC). The ENAC identifies items that have positive environmental characteristics and meet standards set by an approved third party, such as FEMP and ENERGY STAR.

The United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC) is a worldwide classification system for e-commerce. It contains more than 50,000 commodities, including many used in the federal sector, each with a unique eight-digit, four-level identification code. Manufacturers and vendors are beginning to adopt the UNSPSC classification convention and electronic procurement systems are beginning to include UNSPSC tracking in their software packages. UNSPSCs can help the federal acquisition community identify product categories covered by sustainable acquisition requirements, track purchases of products within those categories, and report on progress toward meeting sustainable acquisition goals. FEMP has developed a table of ENERGY STAR and FEMP-designated covered product categories and related UNSPSC numbers.

Water-Cooled Ice Machine Schedules and Product Codes

GSA offers ice machines through Schedule 51 V (Hardware Superstore) and Schedule 56 (Buildings and Building Materials/Industrial Services and Supplies).

DLA's ENAC for water-cooled ice machines is "FC."

The UNSPSC for ice cube makers is 24131901.

Buyer Tips: Make Informed Product Purchases

Water-cooled ice machines should only be used when they can be connected to a cooling tower that operates year round. Federal agencies should not use single-pass or once-through cooling, a practice where potable water is used to remove waste heat from the condenser and then disposed of down the drain. Federal water efficiency best management practices advocate against this practice. FEMP's Best Management Practice for Single-Pass Cooling Equipment recommends that ice machines and other equipment using single-pass cooling be modified to recirculate water or be eliminated altogether. In situations where connecting to a cooling tower is not possible or the cooling tower does not operate year round, install ENERGY STAR-qualified air-cooled ice machines instead.

The type of ice maker purchased has energy use implications. Ice-making head type water-cooled ice machines 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 these products. On the other hand, self-contained units have an ice-making mechanism and storage bin integrated into the same cabinet or housing, so the energy use associated with the storage is included in the reported energy use.

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 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.). This operating strategy reduces the demand charges, resulting in additional cost savings.

User Tips: Use Products More Efficiently

Proper maintenance of water-cooled ice machines is important, especially of solenoid valves that control the flow of water through the condensers. When these valves fail in the open position, water flows through the condensers regardless of if the machine is operating or not. This unnecessarily increases loads on cooling towers.

Hard water leaves mineral deposits or scale on the evaporator plate and other components of the ice-making mechanism. Commercial ice machines typically include a self-cleaning function that periodically rinses scale off these components. In most cases, the owner or service technician can adjust the frequency of the cleaning function to accommodate differences in water quality. It is common to find ice machines with self-cleaning set to maximum regardless of water quality. It is necessary to check and adjust the setting to match the water quality in your area.

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