Eco-Living Magazine

EPA Boosts Energy Star Standards for 2014

Posted on the 04 July 2013 by 2ndgreenrevolution @2ndgreenrev

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced that residential refrigerators and freezers must meet tougher standards to earn an Energy Star label. The new rules, which go into effect September 2014, not only set a new threshold for Energy Star certification, but raise the minimum efficiency requirement for all appliances.

Currently, Energy Star refrigerators and freezers must be 20 and 10 percent more efficient than products meeting minimum standards that were set in 2001. While the new rules require only a 10 percent improvement for both appliances, they are compared against stricter 2014 minimum standards. These standards, mandated through the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA), are the baseline against which Energy Star ratings are formulated.

In its full report, the EPA said Americans could save more than $890 million each year if all refrigerators and freezers met the new Energy Star certification (this presumably includes those already sold). It also states that the corresponding drop in annual greenhouse gas emissions would be equivalent to taking one million vehicles off the road (11.8 billion pounds of GHG).

In short, EPA wants you to get rid of your old fridge or freezer. Like cars, their biggest ecological footprint is made during use, not manufacturing. But what about return on investment? While EPA said there was a “modestly longer payback” for one class of freezers (more than 7 years), most should expect a payback period between 2 and 5 years. Even so, over the 2+ decade lifetime of a product EPA says we should expect to save $150 to $1,100. I’d hate to be on the small end of that range.

Another notable component of the new Energy Star rules is the introduction of optional “connected” features. These will allow consumers to view real-time energy use, monitor settings remotely and have “smart grid” functionality, allowing the appliance to respond smartly to utility signals (e.g., reduce energy consumption during peak hours).

“Refrigerator in a parking lot” by Rich Anderson

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