U.S. appliance makers lobby for higher efficiency goals

The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers and 12 environment and consumer groups, including the National Resources Defense Council and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, proposed the new standards covering five of the most frequently used home appliances.

Under the proposal, refrigerator and freezer energy will be reduced by up to 30 percent by January 2014 for new models. Room air conditioners will see a 10 percent to 15 percent efficiency increase by June of the same year.

Standards for top-loading clothes washers will reduce energy use by 26 percent and water use by 16 percent by 2015, which will increase to 37 percent energy and water efficiency by 2018. Front-loading clothes washers are also expected to be 43 percent energy efficient and 52 percent water efficient by 2015.

Clothes dryers will increase efficiency by 5 percent while dishwashers will see 14 percent energy savings and 23 percent water savings beginning in January 2013.

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The groups recommended improving efficiency testing methods to better reflect real-world energy consumption of clothes dryers and refrigerators.

The air conditioner tops electricity use in most homes at 16 percent, while the refrigerator is second as it makes up for 13.7 percent of power bills, said the Department of Energy.

Air conditioning accounts for almost 5 percent of all the electricity produced in the United States at a cost of over $15 billion to homeowners, added the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

The industry group will bring the recommendations called the Energy Efficient and Smart Appliance Agreement of 2010 to Congress and the Energy Department.

The groups also called for a three-year extension of existing federal tax credits for the production of energy efficient appliances to help businesses retain workers and hire more employees. They said tax credits currently affect approximately 40,000 jobs.

An analysis from the Department of Energy shows that the standards could save more than 9 quads of energy – or over 2.6 million gigawatt-hours – in 30 years, which would be enough to meet the total energy needs of 40 percent of American homes for one year. Consumers stand to gain nearly $30 billion in energy savings.

The standards could also save 5 trillion gallons of water over the same time period, which could satisfy the current water needs of every customer in Los Angeles for 25 years.

Around 550 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent to taking 100 million of today’s cars off the road for a year could also be avoided.

«This joint proposal will make the next generation of major home appliances the thriftiest ever when it comes to energy and water use,» said Steven Nadel, executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

The trade organization’s company members include big companies such as General Electric (NYSE:GE), Whirlpool Corporation (NYSE:WHR), LG Electronics, Samsung, (KRX:A005930) and Sharp Electronics.



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