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Sustainability Standard Developed for Residential Washing Machines
May 24, 2013
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The first voluntary sustainability standard for home laundry appliances in the United States was released in May 2013. The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), CSA Group, and UL (Underwriters Laboratories) released AHAM 7003- 2013/CSA SPE-7003-13/UL 7003, Sustainability Standard for Household Clothes Washers.

This standard is the second in a family of product sustainability standards under development by AHAM, CSA Group, and UL, intended for use by manufacturers, governments, retailers, and others to identify environmentally preferable products.

The standard is based on a lifecycle approach for identifying the environmental impacts of household clothes washers in six key areas:
* materials
* manufacturing and operations
* energy and water consumption during use
* end-of-life
* consumables
* innovation

This standard is intended to serve as an objective, practical measurement tool to assist clothes washer manufacturers in evaluating the environmental sustainability of home appliances.

The three organizations will now form consensus committees to move the standard through the U.S. and Canadian accredited standards process, following the requirements of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Standards Council of Canada (SCC), respectively.

Other major appliance standards are under development and are expected to be published in 2013 and 2014.

"As with the previously published refrigeration standard, this residential clothes washer standard is a concrete example of the appliance industry's commitment to sustainability. It provides a uniform measurement for retailers and consumers to compare product sustainability," said AHAM President Joseph M. McGuire.

"Throughout the supply chain, demand by consumers is growing for manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, and importers to offer products with better environmental performance," said Bonnie Rose, president, Standards, CSA Group. "CSA Group is committed to developing standards for sustainability that help consumer product manufacturers enhance their ongoing environmental initiatives and help consumers make informed decisions about environmental products."

"Consumers are concerned about the lifecycle-based environmental impacts of the products they buy and use in their living spaces. They want to know that their home appliances are not only safe for their families, but more sustainable," said Sara Greenstein, president of UL Environment, a business unit of UL. "We commend the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers for leading the initiative to develop this important standard. It will help differentiate greener home appliances in the marketplace and accommodate the demands of environmentally conscious consumers."

Throughout the standards development process, a cross-section of stakeholders, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Environment Canada, The Sustainability Consortium, Consumer's Union, and retailers such as Sears, Best Buy, and Lowe's, and environmental groups including the Carbon Disclosure Project were engaged to ensure that the standard is credible and compatible with existing government and retailer initiatives. PE International and Five Winds Strategic Consulting also assisted with the project.

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