Agreement to make home appliances smart grid ready in U.S.


Joseph M. McGuire,
President, AHAM
Washington, DC, U.S.A. (METERING.COM) August 4, 2010 – An alliance of U.S. home appliance manufacturers, energy and water efficiency organizations, consumer groups and environmental organizations have agreed to improved efficiency standards and tax policies for refrigerators, freezers, clothes washers, clothes dryers, dishwashers and room air conditioners.

The agreement could save enough energy to meet the total energy needs of 40 percent of American homes for one year and the amount of water necessary to meet the current water needs of every customer in the City of Los Angeles for 25 years, the partners believe. Further, global warming CO2 will be reduced by 550 million metric tons over the same time period, without considering the emissions reductions from smart appliances.

The partners have called for new national minimum efficiency standards, production tax credits for super efficient appliances, and the inclusion of smart grid readiness as a feature of future ENERGY STAR qualified appliances.

“This agreement is an innovative approach to delivering substantial energy and water savings to the consumer through traditional energy and water standards and manufacturing incentives for super efficient appliances, as well as new incentives for the deployment of smart appliances,” stated Joseph M. McGuire, president of the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM). “AHAM members are pleased to join together with the leading energy and water efficiency groups to celebrate this remarkable agreement.”

Appliance manufactures and efficiency advocates will pursue adoption of these recommendations through administrative action by the Department of Energy (DOE) and through legislative action by Congress.

Based on DOE analysis, the recommended standards and tax credits will save more than 9 quads of energy over 30 years, which is roughly enough to meet the total energy needs of 40 percent of American homes for one year. The recommended water efficiency standards and tax credits for clothes washers and dishwashers will save about 5 trillion gallons over 30 years, which is approximately the amount of water necessary to meet the current water needs of every customer in the City of Los Angeles for 25 years.

The recommended new standards will reduce new refrigerator and freezer energy use by up to 30 percent by January 2014. For top loading clothes washers, 26 percent energy savings and 16 percent water savings would kick in for 2015 relative to current standards, increasing to 37 percent energy and water savings in 2018. For front loading clothes washers, the savings will be 43 percent for energy and 52 percent for water in 2015 compared to today’s standards. Clothes dryers will increase in efficiency by 5 percent in 2015. In addition, changes to the dryer test procedure will reduce over-drying, saving additional energy and extending the life of clothes. Room air conditioners will see a 10 to 15 percent increase in efficiency effective June 2014 and dishwashers will see 14 percent energy savings and 23 percent water savings beginning in January 2013.

For a typical household, products just meeting the new standards would cut their total electric bill by about 6 percent relative to products just meeting the current standards. Based on analysis by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the net total national benefits for consumers for products purchased through 2030 will reach nearly $30 billion. The analysis also shows that estimated upfront cost increases to make products more efficient will pay back in lower energy bills well within the life of the affected products, often within just a few years.

Additional key features of the agreement include:

  • Support for a three-year extension and update of an existing manufacturers’ tax credit for the production of super efficient clothes washers, dishwashers, refrigerators and freezers.
  • A planned petition to the ENERGY STAR program to provide a 5 percent credit to the required energy levels for smart appliances.
  • Recommendations that DOE improve test methods for dryers and refrigerators to better represent actual product energy use.

The agreement was signed by major appliance manufacturing members of the AHAM and other organizations including the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Alliance for Water Efficiency, Alliance to Save Energy, Appliance Standards Awareness Project, Consumer Federation of America, National Consumer Law Center, Natural Resources Defense Council, Northwest Power and Conservation Council, and Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships.