New Efficiency Standards Proposed for Vending Machines
Jul 12, 2009
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Proposed new national energy efficiency standards for beverage vending machines (a.k.a., soda or pop machines) will help make America more energy efficient, according to a coalition of energy efficiency, environmental, and consumer groups. The proposed new standards, released by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), would cut the average energy use of the most common new cold beverage vending machines by about 42%. However, even larger savings could have been achieved if DOE had required energy-saving smart controls.

"More energy-efficient vending machines will keep our sodas just as cold and help reduce global warming pollution,” said Noah Horowitz, Senior Scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)."With roughly 3 million beverage vending machines in the U.S., or 1 for every 100 Americans, a strong national standard means real savings for all the universities, park districts, hotels, and other institutions and businesses that pay the electric bills for these machines."

Thee standards build on a series of improvements in vending machine efficiency achieved over the past decade. According to Horowitz, who pioneered research into vending machine energy use, many machines used as much as 3000 to 5000 kilowatt-hours per year in the mid-1990s. With the new standards, per unit energy use will be no more than about 1400 to 1800 kilowatt-hours per year. Once the new standards take effect in three years, each typical new machine will save about $320 per year compared to an older machine.

Under court orders and Congressional deadlines, DOE must complete about 25 new standards by January 2012, covering everything from fluorescent tube lights used in offices to home refrigerators to water heaters to air-conditioners. Vending machines are among the first.

Altogether, according to DOE, the proposed new beverage machine standards could save about 10 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity over 30 years (or about one-tenth of one quad of primary energy). This is enough electricity to meet the needs of about 800,000 typical U.S. homes for one year. The standards would save vending machine property owners about $250 million over thirty years. The standards would, cumulatively over 30 years, eliminate about 5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions (or roughly the amount emitted by one million typical cars in a year). These carbon dioxide emission reductions, according to DOE, are worth as much as another $96 million.

According to preliminary estimates by ACEEE, the two dozen standards due by January 2012 could altogether reduce projected 2020 U.S. electricity use by at least 165 billion kilowatt-hours, or about 4%. While vending machines are one of the smaller standards ranked by energy savings, it will take strong standards for each of the 25 products to meet ambitious energy savings goals.

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