Washing machines and fridges could become much more efficient by 2027

Efficiency Upgrade: Your Washing Machine and Fridge May Soon be More Eco-Friendly

The Biden administration’s recent proposal for stricter energy standards for household appliances is aimed at reducing emissions and helping consumers save money. The Energy Department announced that the updated regulations, which have not been revised in over a decade, would result in Americans saving approximately $3.5 billion annually on energy and water bills while also lowering harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Homeowners would see an average savings of $295 over the 14-year lifespan of a new washing machine and $130 over the lifespan of a new refrigerator.

To comply with the new standards, appliance companies will need to invest approximately $2 billion over the next three years in upgrading their product designs and manufacturing processes. The Energy Department estimates that compliance costs could result in a 15-30% decrease in the industry’s value in one of the five economic scenarios. However, the department also acknowledged that there is potential for substantial revenue growth.

Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm stated, “With today’s proposals, we are continuing the decades-long effort to make appliances more efficient and save Americans money.” The new standards, which could come into effect as early as 2027, are being proposed during a time of national discussion surrounding the potential regulation of gas stoves.

Despite criticism from some quarters, experts in energy efficiency say that the proposed standards are long overdue and could result in substantial savings for consumers. Under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, the Energy Department is required to regularly review appliance efficiency standards, and while not mandated to tighten standards, it usually chooses to do so. The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, however, would like to end the regular six-year reviews.

The Energy Department estimates that the new standards for refrigerators and freezers alone would result in savings of up to $20.4 billion on energy and water bills over 30 years, reducing energy usage by 12% and carbon dioxide emissions by up to 179.2 million metric tons. Additionally, the use of new washing machines could save the country up to $14.5 billion and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 53.2 million tons over the same 30-year period. The Biden administration also proposed new standards for household clothes dryers last year.

If approved, the new regulations would represent a significant shift from the efforts of former President Donald Trump, who aimed to freeze or roll back energy efficiency standards for appliances. In response, the Natural Resources Defense Council, along with consumer and low-income advocates and several states, sued the Energy Department for not taking action on 25 standards.

Overall, the Biden administration’s proposed energy standards for household appliances are aimed at improving efficiency, reducing emissions, and saving consumers money, while also promoting innovation in the industry.