Feds order up more efficient dishwashers

Residential dishwashers are the latest household appliance facing new efficiency rules from the Department of Energy (DOE).

The Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy proposed Thursday new energy conservation standards aimed at reducing the energy and water consumption of residential dishwashers.

This comes as the Energy Department continues to overhaul energy conservation standards for dozens of residential and commercial appliances, including refrigerators, air conditioners, ceiling fans and furnaces.

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The energy conservation standards would lead to big savings for consumers but could cost industry millions of dollars to comply with, according to DOE estimates.

The DOE estimates the efficiency rules would reduce water consumption by 240 billion gallons over a 30-year period. They would also reduce energy consumption by 12 percent.

The mandate for the industry could yield big savings for consumers. The DOE estimates users of residential dishwashers could save more than $2 billion in utility bills.

The energy conservation standards for residential dishwashers would also have “significant environmental benefits,” according to the DOE. The efficiency rules would lead to massive reductions in carbon dioxide, methane, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury.

The carbon emissions reductions alone could lead to billions of more in savings for the public, the DOE estimates.

However, the energy conservation standards would shrink the size of the residential dishwasher industry by one-third.

The Energy Department estimates manufacturers would end up paying more than $200 million to comply with the efficiency rules.

The public has 60 days to comment on the proposed rules.