US home appliance manufacturers, through their trade group the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), have teamed with energy and water advocacy groups to lobby the US Congress to pass an energy bill which will include the strictest federal energy efficiency standards to date for several major appliance products. AHAM is also pushing for a first ever national water limit requirement for residential dishwashers and clothes washers. AHAM says the new energy and water standards will result in a savings of up to 3.3 Quads of energy and nearly 11 million acre feet of water over 30 years. This is the equivalent of over two and a half years of domestic water use in the US. This set of standards will also save consumers up to US $14.7 billion in utility payments.
This new set of standards comes at a good time, AHAM says, as consumer awareness of energy efficiency is at an all time high. While replacement purchases are still the number one reason for acquiring a new appliance, upgrading to a new and more energy efficient appliance before the old appliance died was cited as the second top reason for purchasing a new appliance within the past four years, according to AHAM's 2006 Saturation and Marketing Factors Survey.
Under the pending energy bill, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is obligated to review appliance efficiency standards every five years and approve tougher requirements if justified. "When setting new standards it is important to balance product performance with environmental benefit," said AHAM president Joseph M. McGuire. "This new package of standards, affecting most major appliances, when combined with the next round of Energy Star requirements, will offer consumers super-efficient products and the most advanced performance technologies available. It's a major win for consumers and the environment."
Since 1990, AHAM says energy consumption in clothes washers has decreased 56%, in refrigerators 45%, and in dishwashers 39%. AHAM says the next generation of appliance standards combined with Energy Star which encourages even more efficient products, will further decrease the overall energy consumption of these products.