Energy Dept. proposes new standards for clothes washers

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The Obama administration on Monday added commercial clothes washers to a laundry list of appliances targeted for new energy efficiency standards under President Obama’s climate initiative.

A rulemaking notice to be published in Tuesday’s edition of the Federal Register marks a major step toward new regulations for washers used in commercial settings, multi-family housing units and Laundromats.

The proposed standards, pursued under the 1975 Energy Policy and Conservation Act, would save consumers hundreds of millions of dollars in the coming decades, according to the agency.

The regulations, if enacted, would also slash carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 5.9 million metric tons between 2018 and 2047, according to the Energy Department.

The agency placed industry compliance costs at roughly $6 million annually in 2012 dollars.

“Additionally, based on DOE’s interviews with the manufacturers of commercial clothes washers, DOE does not expect any plant closings or significant loss of employment as a result of today’s standards” the agency said.

The notice is to be accompanied by a 60-day public comment period, which will be followed by a formal draft rule. That too will be subject to public feedback before the agency issues final regulations.

The Energy Department, under Secretary Ernest Moniz, has proclaimed appliance efficiency a top priority. Under the current administration, the agency has finalized new efficiency standards for more than 30 household and commercial items, including dishwashers, walk-in coolers, and water heaters.