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Department of Energy Gets Tough on Refrigerator Efficiency
Sep 29, 2010
By Frank Polich, Getty Images
Home refrigerators and freezers will soon have to reduce energy useby up to 25% under a tougher efficiency standard proposed Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Energy.
DOE estimates the standard, part of the Obama administration's efforts to boost energy efficiency, could save consumers as much as $18.6 billion on utility bills over 30 years. Since Jan. 2009, DOE has upped efficiency rules for more than 20 household and commercial products and removed nearly 70 non-compliant ones from the market.
"As technologies continue to improve to meet these latest standards, we'll help to address climate change while saving families across the country billions of dollars," Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in announcing the proposed rule.
Over the last 40 years, refrigerators have significantly reduced their energy use, even though they've gained cubic feet and features. They now use less than one-third of the electricity than in the mid-1970s. With the proposed standard, energy use will decrease another 20-25 percent by 2014.
DOE will accept public comments on the proposal until Nov. 26 and plans to issue the final standard in Dec. 2010. That standard is expected to go in to effect in Jan. 2014 and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 305 million metric tons between 2014 and 2043.