A new energy efficiency standard for household refrigerators and freezers became law recently. According to a report, the new standards require that refrigerators be 25 percent to 30 percent more efficient that those manufactured just a year ago.
The current upgrade is the result of a 2010 joint recommendation to the DOE from refrigerator manufacturers, efficiency advocates, states, and consumer groups. DOE had approved the standards in 2011 for refrigerators and freezers and announced that the energy-saving targets would be effective for manufacturers on September 15, 2014.
Refrigerators currently in the market are much more efficient than their predecessors. The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) said that newer fridges use up to 50 percent less energy than those manufactured in 1990. To meet the new standards, manufacturers have been redesigning their models to make them more energy efficient, even changing entire production lines. High-end models have been upgraded and further changes may include improved insulation technologies, higher efficiency fan motors, better heat exchangers, and more efficient compressors.
Of course, the result of these changes is higher prices, though pricing is still a hazy area, according to experts. As the industry is competitive, pricing strategies are closely guarded. Price increases will vary by model and manufacturer and will generally be modest, say reports. The new refrigerators and freezers are expected to save consumers about $215 and $270 on their annual utility bills in contrast to a refrigerator that just met the first state standards in 1978. One report says that over the next 30 thirty years, the new standards are expected to save about 344 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions as well as almost 5 quads of energy, resulting in approximately $36 billion in net energy bill savings.