Washington — Major appliance makers have agreed to support new mandatory federal energy- and water-efficiency standards, EnergyStar levels and manufacturer tax credits for the production of super-efficient clothes washers, dishwashers, refrigerators and dehumidifiers.
The agreement, forged with a nationwide coalition of environmental advocacy groups, would raise the efficiency of the covered white goods by 11 percent, to 48 percent, resulting in “significant energy and water savings for U.S. consumers,” according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM). The measure requires legislation to implement the new standards and tax incentives, and bills have already been introduced in the House of Representatives and Senate.
AHAM described the agreement as historic, citing projected total savings of up to 15 quads of energy, 68 million acre feet of water and as much as $68 billion in utility bills over 30 years, according to a Department of Energy (DOE) analysis. These potential savings equal enough water to meet the needs of about 17 million people and enough energy to meet the needs of about 70 percent of the U.S. population for one year, DOE said.
Moreover, the agreement includes the first national minimum water-efficiency standards for residential clothes washers and dishwashers, and provides for DOE to update these legislated and current standards by conducting new rulemakings for refrigerators, clothes washers and dishwashers.
In his testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality, AHAM president Joseph McGuire hailed the agreement as a major win for consumers and an example of how industry, advocacy groups and government can work together for market transforming policies aimed at appliance efficiency.