DOE Proposes Higher Efficiency Standards for Refrigerators

Photo of a refrigertator
September 2010

New efficiency standards proposed to take effect in 2014, announced recently by the U.S. Department of Energy, continue a 40-year trend of improving energy efficiency of this essential home appliance. The standard is a negotiated agreement between environmentalists, consumer advocates, and manufacturers. As proposed, the standard could save consumers as much as $18.6 billion over thirty years, and would also eliminate the need for up to 4.2 gigawatts of generating capacity by 2043, equivalent to eight to nine coal-fired power plants nationwide. The savings would reduce cumulative carbon dioxide emissions by 305 million metric tons between 2014 and 2043.

EETD's Energy Efficiency Standards Group was a major contributor to DOE's technical and economic analysis, including conducting the analysis of life cycle costs and consumer national impacts. This is the 3rd 25% or greater increase in efficiency from U.S. standards (1993 and 2001 were the other implementation dates). Energy Analysis Department Head James McMahon says, "a new top-freezer refrigerator in 2014 will consume less than 22% of the electricity annually of a new refrigerator sold in 1974."