U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Thursday, April 10, 2014

Clothes Washers Specification Revised Giving Consumers Even More ENERGY STAR Choices

In March, EPA finalized its revision to the ENERGY STAR clothes washers specification. The criteria establish strict new energy and water efficiency requirements for residential clothes washers, providing significant energy, water and cost savings to the consumer and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Under the new specification, EPA will also begin to recognize models with new connected functionality, providing immediate consumer convenience and longer term grid benefit.

The updated requirements highlight the most energy and water efficient products in a variety of configurations and sizes that meet different consumer needs. The ENERGY STAR label will continue to recognize a selection of highly efficient top-load clothes washers, while also setting front-load washer criteria that better reflect the efficiency performance of front loaders that are available today. A new product class for smaller clothes washers (2.5 cubic feet and smaller) recognizes the unique value they provide to consumers with space constraints.

This specification also establishes the first set of optional “connected” criteria for residential clothes washers. ENERGY STAR washers with connected functionality will offer consumers new convenience and energy-savings features, such as an alert indicating there is a performance issue or feedback to consumers on the energy-efficiency of different wash cycle selections. These products will also be “smart grid” ready, meaning they will give consumers the option to connect their clothes washer with their local utility to save money on their energy bills, where those services are offered, and also facilitate broader electric power system efficiency.

COOL FACTS: Under the new criteria, ENERGY STAR residential clothes washers will use, on average, approximately 25% less energy and 40% less water than required by minimum efficiency standards effective in 2015. If all residential clothes washers sold in the United States met these new requirements, the utility cost savings would grow to more than $4 billion each year and more than 19 billion pounds of annual greenhouse gas emissions would be prevented, equivalent to the emissions from more than 1.7 million vehicles.

To earn the ENERGY STAR label, products, must be certified by an EPA-recognized third party, based on testing in an EPA-recognized laboratory. In addition, manufacturers of the products must participate in verification testing programs run by recognized certification bodies.

Products, homes and buildings that earn the ENERGY STAR label prevent greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy efficiency requirements set by the U.S. EPA. From the first ENERGY STAR qualified computer in 1992, the ENERGY STAR label can now be found on products in more than 70 different categories, with more than 4.5 billion sold. Over 1.5 million new homes and 23,000 office buildings, schools and hospitals have earned the ENERGY STAR label. Since the program began, American families and businesses have saved $297 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 2.1 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions with help from ENERGY STAR.