Greener Clothes Washers Coming to a Store Near You
WASHINGTON, DC, March 17, 2008 (ENS) - Next year, clothes washers that are much more efficient than current appliances will be coming on the market. The new washers will have to use less water than those now on sale, and they also must be more energy efficient.

As of July 1, 2009, manufacturers will have to make their washers meet a higher standard if they want to qualify the appliances to carry the government's Energy Star® label.

Energy Star is a joint program of the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency formed in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based program that seeks to reduce air pollution through increased energy efficiency.

"The Energy Star program provides consumers with greater options for purchasing energy efficient products to save money and energy," said Andy Karsner, the Energy Department's assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy

"More stringent Energy Star criteria for clothes washers ... means more consumers can make smart energy choices and help further the nation’s goal of increasing efficiency and energy productivity, resulting in significant energy savings and greater economic competitiveness," he said.

This Energy Star qualified Whirlpool washer will be held to a stricter standard come July 2009. (Photo courtesy Whirlpool)

The new requirements for clothes washers carrying the Energy Star label will take effect in two phases.

In order to qualify, clothes washers must be a minimum of 43 percent more efficient than current federal energy efficiency standards with a maximum Water Factor of 7.5, as of July 1, 2009.

The Water Factor measures water efficiency and is calculated as gallons of water used per cubic foot of capacity - the lower the Water Factor, the more efficient the clothes washer.

Then in the second phase, from January 1, 2011, clothes washers must be a minimum of 59 percent more efficient than current federal energy efficiency standards with a maximum Water Factor of 6.0.

After the 2011 criteria change for clothes washers, consumers across the country are expected to save a total of $120 million on utility bills annually.

The Energy Department calculates buyers will also save 11.2 billion gallons of water, and 659 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year.

The agency projects that 1.9 million Energy Star qualified clothes washers built to the new criteria will be sold the first year they are available, saving Americans up to $92.4 million annually on their water and utility bills.

Currently, clothes washers qualified to the Energy Star standard use 75 percent less energy than clothes washer models manufactured in 1980. The current Energy Star criteria for clothes washers, last modified in January 2007, were drafted with input from stakeholders and public review and comment.

To learn more about Energy Star®, and to view the revised program requirements, visit or call 1-888-STAR-YES.

There are at least 225 models of clothes washers on the U.S. market that meet the current Energy Star criteria, made by 27 different manufacturers.

For a complete list of Energy Star qualified washers, click here.

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2008. All rights reserved.