DOE released a new proposed energy efficiency standard for residential refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers on September 27. Under the proposed standard, the energy use of most refrigerator-freezers would decrease by 20%-25% by 2014. Thanks to technological advances and current efficiency standards, today's refrigerators already use two-thirds less electricity than models sold in the mid-1970s.
If the proposed standard takes effect as planned in January 2014, it will save nearly 4.5 quadrillion Btu and would avoid 305 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions over the following 30 years. By 2043, the standard would also eliminate the need for up to 4.2 gigawatts of new generating capacity, equivalent to eight or nine coal-fired power plants. DOE will host a public meeting on the proposed standards on Thursday, October 14, in Washington, D.C., and will accept public comments on its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) until November 26. See the DOE press release and the NOPR .
The Alliance to Save Energy, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, and the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) all hailed the new proposed standards, noting that the standard reflects a consensus reached among appliance manufacturers and energy efficiency, environmental, and consumer advocates. Under an agreement made in July, the organizations are also recommending new standards for clothes washers and dryers, dishwashers, and room air conditioners, which DOE is evaluating for future rulemakings. See the press release and agreement on the AHAM Web site.