The U.S. Department of Energy announced new energy efficiency standards for refrigerators and freezers to improve their performance.
The new rules will improve efficiency by about 25 percent by 2014 and are expected to save more than $200 in savings for consumers over the lifetime of the refrigerator.
"These standards reflect a consensus among manufacturers, consumer groups and environmentalists. The agreement builds on more than three decades of common-sense state and federal refrigerator efficiency standards that have collectively saved American families hundreds of billions of dollars," said DOE Secretary Steven Chu, in a press release. "What's so remarkable is that even as the size of American refrigerators has increased and more features have been added, the historical purchase prices have come down and we are all saving money on our electricity bills every month."
"DOE's action today, which was required by law, is based on the consensus agreement reached by stakeholders which balances energy savings, consumer choice and manufacturer impact. We applaud DOE for its work and continue to urge both DOE and EPA to carefully balance implementation of mandatory standards and voluntary programs such as Energy Star," said Joseph M. McGuire, president of the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers.
"This final rule implements a consensus agreement between appliance manufacturers and energy efficiency supporters on new refrigerator and freezer standards," said Steven Nadel, executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. "This consensus agreement maximized cost-effective energy savings for consumers while keeping impacts on manufacturers to manageable levels."
These new consensus standards build on previous efficiency standards for refrigerators, which have successfully reduced energy use while promoting design innovation and new features for homeowners. Since the first standards were set in the 1970s, the energy needed to power home refrigerators has decreased by more than two-thirds, while at the same time, costs have come down, storage space has increased, and more features are available.
The efficiency standards issued today finalize the proposed consensus standards agreed to by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), more than 25 individual refrigerator manufacturers, and some of the nation's leading consumer and environmental advocacy groups. The standards will go into effect three years after publication in the Federal Register.
Energy Star offers a calculator so that consumers can find out how much energy their older refrigerator or freezer uses when compared to a newer model.
For more information see our Energy Star research center.