The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has added home clothes dryers to the Energy Star program.
EPA estimates that, if all residential clothes dryers sold in the U.S. were to meet the new Energy Star requirements, savings in utility bills would reach $1.5 billion annually, with more than 22 billion pounds of annual greenhouse gas emissions prevented.
The EPA standard was informed with input from manufacturers, retailers, the U.S. Department of Energy, and environmental groups. The new specifications will recognize a selection of highly efficient electric, gas, and compact dryers that will use approximately 20% less energy than what 2015 minimum efficiency standards call for.
EPA said Americans, with the help of Energy Star, saved $30 billion on their utility bills and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to those of 38 million homes in 2013.
“The addition of clothes dryers expands the range of Energy Star products to include one of the most energy-intensive home appliance not yet covered by the program,” said U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.
Over 80% of U.S. homes have a clothes dryer, and dryers account for approximately 6% of residential electricity consumption.
Dryer models that meet the new Energy Star requirements are likely to have improved auto termination sensors, to help reduce energy use by more effectively ending the drying cycle once clothes are dry.
EPA said dryer buyers are likely to have an increasing number of heat pump dryers, which will recapture the hot air from the dryer and pump it back into the drum. By re-using most of the heat, a heat pump dryer can be more efficient and avoid the need for laundry room dryer ducts.
This new Energy Star specification also establishes optional “connected” criteria for residential clothes dryers. Connected Energy Star dryers will offer consumers convenience and energy-savings features, such as an alert for a performance issue or feedback to consumers on the energy-efficiency of different cycle selections. These dryers will also be smart grid-ready, so consumers will have the option to connect their dryer with their local utility, when the service is available, to save money on energy bills.
To earn the Energy Star label, products must be certified by an EPA-recognized third party, based on testing in an EPA-recognized laboratory. Manufacturers of Energy Star-labeled dryers will also be required to participate in verification testing programs operated by recognized certification bodies.
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