Tougher Frig Energy Standard Proposed

It’s a nip and tuck, as far as household efficiency goes, but over the next thirty years, it could save American homeowners as much as $18.6 billion. A new proposed energy efficiency standard for residential refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers, recently announced by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, is expected to go in to effect in January 2014.

The new standard was developed by  the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) under the Obama administration as part of a larger effort to develop new efficiency standards across the board for more than twenty household and commercial products. According to the DOE, over the last 40 years refrigerators have seen significant reductions in the amount of energy they use – even while they have grown larger with more features – as a result of previous appliance efficiency standards, using less than one-third of the electricity they did in the mid-1970s.

Whirlpool Refrigerator

image via Whirlpool

With the proposed standard, the energy use of most refrigerator-freezers will decrease by another 20-25 percent by 2014 while saving nearly 4.5 quads (quadrillion BTUs) over 30 years and eliminating the need for up to 4.2 gigawatts of generating capacity by 2043, which is equivalent to 8-9 coal-fired power plants nationwide.  Carbon dioxide emission would likewise be cut by 305 million metric tons between 2014 and 2043 if the proposed standards are adopted, following a period for public comment.

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

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