New Energy Star criteria for washing machines, CFLs

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Department of Energy (DOE) announced on March 7 that more stringent requirements are being put in place for all washing machines under the Energy Star label.

By July 1, 2009, all qualifying Energy Star washing machines will have to be at least 43% more efficient than the current federal energy efficiency standards and have a maximum water factor (WF) of 7.5; that is, each load will use 7.5 gallons of water per cubic foot of capacity.

By January 1, 2011, all Energy Star washing machines will be 59% more efficient than mandated energy standards and will have a maximum WF of 6.0. The 2011 criteria are expected to save consumers $120 million on annual utility bills while saving 11.2 billion gallons of water and 659 million kilowatt hours of electricity.

Energy Star is a joint program of DOE and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

To meet the new Energy Star criteria, compact fluorescent lamps must be low in mercury while meeting more stringent color requirements.

The DOE also announced more stringent Energy Star requirements for compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs.) As of November 2008, CFLs must be tested by an independent third party, and as of December 2, 2008, all Energy Star CFLs will be required to contain less than 5 milligrams of mercury per bulb and to meet more stringent lamp color requirements.

CFLs with reflectors, such as spotlights, will have to meet new high-heat testing requirements. The criteria will also be expanded to include CFLs with a smaller screw-in base, called a "candelabra" base.


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