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EPA Adds Clothes Dryers to Energy Star Program

Posted Jun 04 2014 7:00am

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on May 27 announced the first-ever Energy Star label for clothes dryers. If all residential clothes dryers sold in the United States meet these new requirements, the utility cost savings will grow to more than $1.5 billion each year and more than 22 billion pounds of annual greenhouse gas emissions would be prevented. Informed by extensive input from manufacturers, retailers, the Energy Department, and environmental groups, the new specifications will recognize a selection of highly efficient electric, gas, and compact dryers that will use approximately 20% less energy than what is required by the minimum efficiency standards effective in 2015.

More than 80% of U.S. homes have a clothes dryer, and these appliances account for approximately six percent of residential electricity consumption. Dryer models that meet the new Energy Star requirements are likely to have improved sensors, which help reduce energy use by more effectively ending the drying cycle once clothes are dry. Among the more efficient gas and electric dryers that will earn the Energy Star, consumers should expect to encounter a promising new technology: heat pump dryers. These dryers recapture the used hot air and pump it back into the drum to dry more clothes. By re-using most of the heat, the technology creates a heat pump dryer that is more efficient and avoids the need for ducts leading heat out of the laundry room.

To earn the Energy Star label, products must be certified by an EPA-recognized third party, based on testing in an EPA-recognized laboratory. In addition, manufacturers of the products must participate in verification testing programs operated by recognized certification bodies. See the EPA news release .

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