Washington – The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) said proposed new efficiency requirements for residential dishwashers will wind up hurting consumers, vendors and the environment, and has urged the Department of Energy (DOE) to put the regs on hold until adequate technical and economic analyses can be completed.
Under the proposed federal standard, manufacturers would have to limit dishwashers’ water consumption to 3.1 gallons per cycle and 234 kilowatt-hours per year starting in 2019.
But the industry trade group said the energy savings are so negligible that it would take consumers twenty years to make up the added cost of the product – longer than its expected life – and that over 70 percent of consumers could experience a net financial loss.
For manufacturers, DOE itself estimates that the dishwasher industry’s value will decrease by as much as 34.7 percent due to greater investment costs, while AHAM’s own analysis, based on data from vendors, estimates that the value could actually decrease by as much as 80 percent.
Moreover, AHAM argues that because the stricter efficiency levels will impact product performance, water usage will actually increase by some 63 billion gallons as consumers pre-rinse dishes, select higher-impact cycles, or run the dishwasher more than once to achieve the desired level of cleanliness.
“It is unprecedented that the U.S. Department of Energy would promulgate a major energy conservation standard without substantial technical and economic evidence and input from external groups including the manufacturing industry,” said AHAM president Joseph McGuire.
In comments filed this week with the federal agency, McGuire noted that “The energy conservation standard DOE has proposed, as it stands, will threaten the existence of popular and energy-efficient models of dishwashers installed in millions of U.S. households today.”
AHAM attributes the misguided regs to DOE’s reliance on “outdated and incorrect product costs, energy consumption, product life cycles and performance characteristics,” and urged the agency to reopen the rulemaking process “to undertake the type of data gathering from experts it normally conducts.”
DOE has conceded that further review may be required, AHAM reported.