The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today the first-ever Energy Star label for clothes dryers. If all residential clothes dryers sold in the U.S. meet these new requirements, the utility cost savings will grow to more than $1.5 billion each year and more than 22 billion pounds of annual greenhouse gas emissions would be prevented. Informed by extensive input from manufacturers, retailers, the U.S. Department of Energy and environmental groups, the new specifications will recognize a selection of highly efficient electric, gas, and compact dryers that will use approximately 20% less energy than what is required by the minimum efficiency standards effective in 2015. In 2013 alone, Americans, with the help of Energy Star, saved $30 billion on their utility bills and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to those of 38 million homes.
“The addition of clothes dryers expands the range of Energy Star products to include one of the most energy-intensive home appliance not yet covered by the program,” said U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Working with industry on innovative approaches to address our changing climate, we are helping consumers select more energy efficient appliances, save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.“
Over 80% of U.S. homes have a clothes dryer, and these appliances account for approximately six percent of residential electricity consumption. Dryer models that meet the new Energy Star requirements are likely to have improved auto termination sensors, which help reduce energy use by more effectively ending the drying cycle once clothes are dry. Among the more efficient gas and electric dryers that will earn the Energy Star, consumers should expect to encounter a promising new technology. Heat pump dryers recapture the hot air used by the dryer and pump it back into the drum to dry more clothes. By re-using most of the heat, it creates a heat pump dryer that is more efficient and avoids the need for ducts leading heat out of the laundry room.
This new Energy Star specification also establishes optional “connected” criteria for residential clothes dryers. Energy Star dryers with connected functionality will offer consumers convenience and energy-savings features, such as an alert indicating there is a performance issue or feedback to consumers on the energy-efficiency of different cycle selections. These products will also be “smart grid” ready, meaning they will give consumers the option to connect their dryer with their local utility to save money on their energy bills, where those services are offered, and also facilitate broader electric power system efficiency.
To earn the Energy Star label, products must be certified by an EPA-recognized third party, based on testing in an EPA-recognized laboratory. In addition, manufacturers of the products must participate in verification testing programs operated by recognized certification bodies.
Products, homes and buildings that earn the Energy Star label prevent greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy efficiency requirements set by the U.S. EPA. From the first Energy Star qualified computer in 1992, the label can now be found on products in more than 70 different categories, with more than 4.5 billion sold over the past 20 years. Over 1.5 million new homes and 23,000 office buildings, schools and hospitals have earned the Energy Star label.
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