News Brief

Refrigerators, Freezers Must Meet Tougher Energy Star Requirements

EPA raises efficiency standards and paves the way for demand-response technologies through the Energy Star program.

The EnergyGuide Label for the Consumer

With new standards set for 2014, you could see the yearly operating cost (the number in the middle of the EnergyGuide Label) of an Energy Star refrigerator significantly decrease. The new requirements may translate to energy cost savings of up to $1,000 over the product's lifetime.

U.S. Federal Trade Commission
Residential refrigerators and freezers will have to meet higher efficiency standards to qualify for an Energy Star label, effective September 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced.

Current Energy Star standards require these appliances to perform 15% more efficiently than the federal minimum requirements set in 2001. However, more efficient federal minimum requirements come into effect in 2014, and the Energy Star label will correspondingly adjust to require higher levels of efficiency. A 21.6 ft3 built-in refrigerator with a top-mounted freezer, for example, must meet projected energy use of 500 kWh/year.

If all refrigerators and freezers sold in the U.S. met the updated Energy Star requirements, energy cost savings would reach $890 million and reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of removing more than one million vehicles from the road, estimates a press release from EPA.

The revised standards also establish optional criteria for “connected features” that could aid consumers in reducing their energy use. Future refrigerators could have communication technology that allows an owner to view real-time energy use, receive messages to a smart phone if the door has been left open, or manage settings remotely. The appliances could also be “smart-grid ready”—employing demand-response technology capable of automatically lowering energy use during expensive peak times—at the permission of the consumer and with manual override abilities.

Published July 28, 2013

Pearson, C. (2013, July 28). Refrigerators, Freezers Must Meet Tougher Energy Star Requirements. Retrieved from

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