ACEEE report finds energy and water savings in clothes washer market

The clothes washer market represents a big opportunity for energy, water and money savings, according to a new white paper by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy Redirecting to a non-government site (ACEEE) and the Natural Resources Defense Council Redirecting to a non-government site  (NRDC).

Saving Water and Energy through Clothes Washer Replacement in the Great Lakes Region profiles various opportunities for energy and water savings in the residential and commercial sectors. The report focuses on the Great Lakes states, but markets throughout the country have the potential to capture these savings.

The residential sector is not yet fully saturated with efficient units, and washer energy and water use varies significantly among units. Some utilities are basing rebate programs on the TopTen USA Redirecting to a non-government site and ENERGY STAR Most Efficient Redirecting to a non-government site lists, which designate the most efficient products among Energy Star-qualified appliances, and realizing substantial savings. Upgrading a residential clothes washer to a TopTen unit can result in energy savings up to 62 percent and water savings as much as 68 percent.

Programs targeting commercial machines are another source of savings. Commercial units do almost four times as many loads per day as residential units, and only 32 percent of the commercial washers sold are efficient units. For example, replacing the single load or “family size” commercial washers that are primarily found in multifamily laundry rooms with more efficient units can reduce energy use by 30 percent and water use by almost 50 percent.

The white paper finds that the diversity of the commercial market requires targeted approaches to address the specific energy- and water-saving opportunities in each sector. To better understand energy and water consumption in commercial laundry facilities, NRDC and ACEEE will be designing and implementing a pilot utility program for a target state in the Great Lakes region.