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Refrigerators & Freezers Key Product Criteria

Equipment Volume Criteria
Full Size Refrigerators 7.75 cubic feet or greater At least 20% more energy efficient than the minimum federal government standard (NAECA).
Full Size Freezers 7.75 cubic feet or greater At least 10% more energy efficient than the minimum federal government standard (NAECA).
Compact Refrigerators and Freezers Less than 7.75 cubic feet and 36 inches or less in height At least 20% more energy efficient than the minimum federal government standard (NAECA).

On April 28, 2008, the ENERGY STAR criteria changed for all full-size refrigerators. All refrigerators greater than 7.75 cubic feet must be at least 20% more efficient than the federal standard. The ENERGY STAR criteria for full-sized freezers and compact refrigerators and freezers did not change at this time.

On January 1, 2004, the ENERGY STAR criteria for refrigerators changed to require all full-size models to be at least 15% above the minimum federal standard to qualify for ENERGY STAR. Please note, the ENERGY STAR criteria for full-sized freezers and compact refrigerators and freezers did not change at this time.

On January 1, 2003, the ENERGY STAR criteria for refrigerators expanded to include all sizes and configurations of refrigerators and freezers.

  • All refrigerators and freezers 7.75 cubic feet or greater in volume must be at least 10% above the minimum federal standard to qualify for ENERGY STAR.
  • All refrigerators and freezers less than 7.75 cubic feet in volume and 36 inches or less in height had to be at least 20% above the minimum federal standard to qualify for ENERGY STAR.

This expansion allowed the qualification of the previously ineligible products in the following categories:

  • Chest freezers
  • Upright freezers
  • Manual defrost freezers and refrigerators
  • Partial automatic defrost refrigerators
  • Single door refrigerators
  • Compact refrigerators and freezers

Federal Standards (NAECA)

The National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) dictates minimum standards for energy consumption in refrigerators and freezers. The standard varies depending on the size and configuration of the refrigerator or freezer.

Refrigerators and freezers are categorized by:

  • Configuration (side-by-side, top freezer, bottom freezer, single door refrigerator and freezer, single door refrigerator only, chest freezer, and upright freezer)
  • Automatic or manual defrost
  • For refrigerators, whether or not they have through-the-door ice service

Adjusted Volume (AV) for refrigerators is calculated as follows: AV = (Fresh Volume) + 1.63 x (Freezer Volume).

For freezers, the adjustment factor is 1.73 so the calculation is: AV = 1.73 x Freezer Volume.

Fresh Volume is the total volume of the main refrigerator compartment.

Freezer Volume is the total volume of the freezer compartment.

Calculate the Federal Standard (NAECA) and the ENERGY STAR criteria for refrigerators and freezers. Excel icon

You may still find refrigerator and freezer models designated as ENERGY STAR at retail that met the previous ENERGY STAR criteria for an extended period of time. If you have recently purchased one of these models, even though these models do not meet the current ENERGY STAR criteria for refrigerators and freezers, you can be confident that the product is highly efficient.

In addition, some of the ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerators and freezers displayed on the Web site were recently introduced into the market and may not be available for purchase in certain areas.