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New 2014 U.S. fridge standards claim to cut energy usage by 25%

August 31, 2011 - New U.S. Department of Energy efficiency standards pledge to cut the energy use of most new refrigerators by 25% and help save consumers money, create jobs, reduce pollution and spur innovation and investment, according to consumer, environment and energy-efficiency groups.


August 31, 2011
By Alyssa Dalton

“Refrigerator standards have been quietly saving consumers money while protecting our environment for more than 35 years,” said David Goldstein, energy program co-director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “But these new standards are the coolest yet, because they show that innovation can keep driving improvements even after decades of progress. New fridges do an even better job of keeping our food fresh and providing consumer amenity, yet they use only one-fifth the electricity they used to — and that means less pollution from power plants.”

The groups say the standards have been strengthened three times now since their enactment in 1987. The latest standards are based on a joint recommendation filed in 2010 with DOE by the groups and refrigerator manufacturers represented by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers.

“New fridges are bigger and cheaper than they’ve ever been, but due to several rounds of state and national efficiency standards they use much less energy,” said Steven Nadel, executive director of ACEEE (American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy). “These new standards will deliver even more benefits for consumers and the environment.”

Once the new standards take effect in 2014, a typical fridge that exactly meets the new standards will use $215 to $270 less per year in electricity than a comparable unit which met the first state standards set in 1978, said DOE.

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“We’re pleased to see that our joint recommendation for improving the efficiency of refrigerators will become a reality,” said Mel Hall-Crawford, energy projects director at Consumer Federation of America. “These latest standards build on years of improvements–as a result, refrigerators have gone from being energy guzzlers to energy sippers.”

According to DOE, the new standards would save 4.84 quads of energy and cut CO2 emissions by 344 million metric tonnes over a 30-year-period.

“Even as our refrigerators have gotten larger and more functional, with features like automatic defrost and through-the-door ice, their average energy use has plummeted,” said Jeff Harris, senior vice president for programs at the Alliance to Save Energy. “It’s clear that energy-efficiency standards have helped to create the market certainty that drives investments in such innovations, as well as better design, improved insulation and other components that make fridges better.”

DOE updates to the national standards took effect in 1993 and 2001 and also were based on joint recommendations filed by consumer, environmental and industry groups. The most recent joint recommendation also addressed new minimum efficiency standards for dryers, washers, dishwashers and room air conditioners.


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