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DoE says: Make fridges more energy efficient

The DoE has devised a new proposed energy efficiency standard for residential refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers. The standard, as proposed, could save consumers as much as $18.6 billion over thirty years, the DoE claims.

DoE says that as a result of previous appliance efficiency standards, today's refrigerators use less than one-third of the electricity than they did in the mid-1970s. With the proposed standard, the energy use of most refrigerator-freezers will drop by another 20 % to 25 % by 2014. According to the Department's analysis, the proposed standards could save nearly 4.5 quads (quadrillion BTUs) over 30 years, equivalent to three times the amount of energy used in refrigerators and freezers in American homes in one year.

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) has now been submitted for public comment. DoE will be accepting public comments, data and information on the proposed standards until Friday, November 26, 2010, including hosting a public meeting on Thursday, October 14, 2010 from 9 AM to 4 PM in Washington, DC. The Department plans to issue the final standard in December 2010, taking into consideration comments received from the public. The new standard is expected to go in to effect in January 2014.

DoE figures efficiency for different product classes though equations that give maximum energy use in kWh/yr. The equations use AV= adjusted volume in cubic feet, or av = adjusted volume in liters. Here are a few examples:

1. Refrigerators and refrigerator-freezers with manual defrost.
7.99AV + 225.0
0.282av + 225.0
1A. All-refrigerators—manual defrost.
6.79AV + 193.6
0.240av + 193.6
2. Refrigerator-freezers—partial automatic defrost
7.99AV + 225.0
0.282av + 225.0
3. Refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with top-mounted freezer without an automatic icemaker.
8.04AV + 232.7
0.284av + 232.7
3-BI. Built-in refrigerator-freezer—automatic defrost with top-mounted freezer without an automatic icemaker.
8.57AV + 248.2
0.303av + 248.2
3I. Refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with top-mounted freezer with an automatic icemaker without through-the-door ice service.
8.04AV + 316.7
0.284av + 316.7
3I-BI. Built-in refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with top-mounted freezer with an automatic icemaker without through-the-door ice service.
8.57AV + 332.2
0.303av + 332.2
3A. All-refrigerators—automatic defrost.
7.07AV + 201.6
0.250av + 201.6
3A-BI. Built-in All-refrigerators—automatic defrost.
7.55AV + 215.1
0.266av + 215.1

There are 28 other classes that the proposed legislation covers. For a copy of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking which spells out these and other details, go here: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/appliance_standards/residential/pdfs/refrig_nopr.pdf

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