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Residential Refrigerators and Freezers

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Manufacturers have been required to comply with the Department of Energy’s (DOE) energy conservation standards for residential refrigerators and freezers since 1990. Residential refrigerators and freezers include refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers, such as standard-size residential units as well as compact units used in offices and dormitory rooms. Known collectively as “refrigeration products,” these appliances chill and preserve food and beverages, provide ice and chilled water, and freeze food.

The standard implemented in 1990 will save approximately 5.6 quads of energy and result in approximately $61.7 billion in energy bill savings for products shipped from 1990-2019. The standard will avoid about 312.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of about 61.3 million automobiles.

The standards implemented in 1993 and 2001 will save approximately 15.3 quads of energy and result in approximately $174.8 billion in energy bill savings for products shipped from 1993-2022. The standards will avoid about 828.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of about 162.4 million automobiles.

Standards mandatory in 2014 will save approximately 5.6 quads of energy and result in approximately $97 billion in energy bill savings for products shipped from 2014-2043. The standard will avoid about 295 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of about 57.8 million automobiles.


Recent Updates | Standards | Test Procedures | Waiver, Exception, and Exemption Information | Statutory Authority | Historical Information | Contact Information


Recent Updates

DOE published a notice of proposed rulemaking regarding test procedures for miscellaneous refrigeration products. 79 FR 74893 (December 16, 2014) For more information, please see the rulemaking webpage

DOE published a notice of public meeting and availability of the preliminary technical support document regarding energy conservation standards for miscellaneous refrigeration products. 79 FR 71705 (December 3, 2014) For more information, please see the rulemaking webpage

DOE published a correction to the final rule regarding test procedures for refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers and freezers. 79 FR 41417 (July 16, 2014). For more information please see the rulemaking webpage.


Standards for Residential Refrigerators and Freezers

The following content summarizes the energy conservation standards for residential refrigerators and freezers. The text is not an official reproduction of the Code of Federal Regulations and should not be used for legal research or citation.

Current Standard

Residential refrigerators and freezers manufactured and distributed in commerce, as defined by 42 U.S.C. 6291(16), on or after July 1, 2001 until September 15, 2014 must meet the energy conservation standards specified in the Code of Federal Regulations, 10 CFR 430.32(a). This information is also available in the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations.

Table 1. Standard Equations for Refrigerators, Refrigerator-Freezers, and Freezers
Product Class Energy Standard Equations for Maximum Energy Use (kWh/yr)
Made Effective by the 1997 Final Rule
1. Refrigerators and refrigerator-freezers with manual defrost. 8.82AV+248.4
0.31av+248.4
2. Refrigerator-freezers—partial automatic defrost. 8.82AV+248.4
0.31av+248.4
3. Refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with top-mounted freezer without through-the-door ice service and all-refrigerator—automatic defrost. 9.80AV+276.0
0.35av+276.0
4. Refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with side-mounted freezer without through-the-door ice service. 4.91AV+507.5
0.17av+507.5
5. Refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with bottom-mounted freezer without through-the-door ice service.* 4.60AV+459.0
0.16av+459.0
6. Refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with top-mounted freezer with through-the-door ice service. 10.20AV+356.0
0.36av+356.0
7. Refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with side-mounted freezer with through-the-door ice service. 10.10AV+406.0
0.36av+406.0
8. Upright freezers with manual defrost. 7.55AV+258.3
0.27av+258.3
9. Upright freezers with automatic defrost. 12.43AV+326.1
0.44av+326.1
10. Chest freezers and all other freezers except compact freezers.* 9.88AV+143.7
0.35av+143.7
11. Compact refrigerators and refrigerator-freezers with manual defrost. 10.70AV+299.0
0.38av+299.0
12. Compact refrigerator-freezer—partial automatic defrost. 7.00AV+398.0
0.25av+398.0
13. Compact refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with top-mounted freezer and compact all-refrigerator—automatic defrost. 12.70AV+355.0
0.45av+355.0
14. Compact refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with side-mounted freezer. 7.60AV+501.0
0.27av+501.0
15. Compact refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with bottom-mounted freezer. 13.10AV+367.0
0.46av+367.0
16. Compact upright freezers with manual defrost. 9.78AV+250.8
0.35av+250.8
17. Compact upright freezers with automatic defrost. 11.40AV+391.0
0.40av+391.0
18. Compact chest freezers. 10.45AV+152.0
0.37av+152.0

AV: Adjusted Volume in ft3; av: Adjusted Volume in liters (L)

* Some models in this product class have been granted exception relief by the DOE Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) and have different applicable energy conservation standards than the ones shown in this table. Information on cases in which manufacturers have been granted relief is available on the OHA website at http://energy.gov/oha/product-efficiency-cases

In the table above the energy standards are determined by multiplying the maximum energy use allowed measured in kWh/year by the sum of the adjusted volume (AV) plus the second number in the following table. The product should be rounded off to the nearest kWh per year. If the calculation is halfway between the nearest two kWh per year values, round it up to the higher of these values.

For further guidance or to submit questions related to the implementation of this standard, visit the Guidance and Frequently Asked Questions page.

Amended Standard

On September 15, 2011, amended standards were issued for residential refrigerators and freezers. The full text of the amended standard is available in the Code of Federal Regulations, 10 CFR 430.32(a). It is also in the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. On September 15, 2014, these amended standards will establish new energy conservation standards for residential refrigerators and freezers, as summarized in the table below. (Note: the printed CFR states a compliance date of September 14, 2014. That is a printing error.)

Table 2. Amended Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Refrigerators and Freezers
Product Class Equations for Maximum Energy Use (kWh/yr)
based on AV (ft3) based on av (L)
1. Refrigerator-freezers and refrigerators other than all-refrigerators with manual defrost. 7.99AV + 225.0 0.282av + 225.0
1A. All-refrigerators—manual defrost. 6.79AV + 193.6 0.240av + 193.6
2. Refrigerator-freezers—partial automatic defrost 7.99AV + 225.0 0.282av + 225.0
3. Refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with top-mounted freezer without an automatic icemaker. 8.07AV + 233.7 0.285av + 233.7
3-BI. Built-in refrigerator-freezer—automatic defrost with top-mounted freezer without an automatic icemaker. 9.15AV + 264.9 0.323av + 264.9
3I. Refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with top-mounted freezer with an automatic icemaker without through-the-door ice service. 8.07AV + 317.7 0.285av + 317.7
3I-BI. Built-in refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with top-mounted freezer with an automatic icemaker without through-the-door ice service. 9.15AV + 348.9 0.323av + 348.9
3A. All-refrigerators—automatic defrost. 7.07AV + 201.6 0.250av + 201.6
3A-BI. Built-in All-refrigerators—automatic defrost. 8.02AV + 228.5 0.283av + 228.5
4. Refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with side-mounted freezer without an automatic icemaker. 8.51AV + 297.8 0.301av + 297.8
4-BI. Built-In Refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with side-mounted freezer without an automatic icemaker. 10.22AV + 357.4 0.361av + 357.4
4I. Refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with side-mounted freezer with an automatic icemaker without through-the-door ice service. 8.51AV + 381.8 0.301av + 381.8
4I-BI. Built-In Refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with side-mounted freezer with an automatic icemaker without through-the-door ice service. 10.22AV + 441.4 0.361av + 441.4
5. Refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with bottom-mounted freezer without an automatic icemaker. 8.85AV + 317.0 0.312av + 317.0
5-BI. Built-In Refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with bottom-mounted freezer without an automatic icemaker. 9.40AV + 336.9 0.332av + 336.9
5I. Refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with bottom-mounted freezer with an automatic icemaker without through-the-door ice service. 8.85AV + 401.0 0.312av + 401.0
5I-BI. Built-In Refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with bottom-mounted freezer with an automatic icemaker without through-the-door ice service. 9.40AV + 420.9 0.332av + 420.9
5A. Refrigerator-freezer—automatic defrost with bottom-mounted freezer with through-the-door ice service. 9.25AV + 475.4 0.327av + 475.4
5A-BI. Built-in refrigerator-freezer—automatic defrost with bottom-mounted freezer with through-the-door ice service. 9.83AV + 499.9 0.347av + 499.9
6. Refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with top-mounted freezer with through-the-door ice service. 8.40AV + 385.4 0.297av + 385.4
7. Refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with side-mounted freezer with through-the-door ice service. 8.54AV + 432.8 0.302av + 432.8
7-BI. Built-In Refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with side-mounted freezer with through-the-door ice service. 10.25AV + 502.6 0.362av + 502.6
8. Upright freezers with manual defrost. 5.57AV + 193.7 0.197av + 193.7
9. Upright freezers with automatic defrost without an automatic icemaker. 8.62AV + 228.3 0.305av + 228.3
9I. Upright freezers with automatic defrost with an automatic icemaker. 8.62AV + 312.3 0.305av + 312.3
9-BI. Built-In Upright freezers with automatic defrost without an automatic icemaker. 9.86AV + 260.9 0.348av + 260.9
9I-BI. Built-in upright freezers with automatic defrost with an automatic icemaker. 9.86AV + 344.9 0.348av + 344.9
10. Chest freezers and all other freezers except compact freezers. 7.29AV + 107.8 0.257av + 107.8
10A. Chest freezers with automatic defrost. 10.24AV + 148.1 0.362av + 148.1
11. Compact refrigerator-freezers and refrigerators other than all-refrigerators with manual defrost. 9.03AV + 252.3 0.319av + 252.3
11A.Compact all-refrigerators—manual defrost. 7.84AV + 219.1 0.277av + 219.1
12. Compact refrigerator-freezers—partial automatic defrost 5.91AV + 335.8 0.209av + 335.8
13. Compact refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with top-mounted freezer. 11.80AV + 339.2 0.417av + 339.2
13I. Compact refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with top-mounted freezer with an automatic icemaker. 11.80AV + 423.2 0.417av + 423.2
13A. Compact all-refrigerators—automatic defrost. 9.17AV + 259.3 0.324av + 259.3
14. Compact refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with side-mounted freezer. 6.82AV + 456.9 0.241av + 456.9
14I. Compact refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with side-mounted freezer with an automatic icemaker. 6.82AV + 540.9 0.241av + 540.9
15. Compact refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with bottom-mounted freezer. 11.80AV + 339.2 0.417av + 339.2
15I. Compact refrigerator-freezers—automatic defrost with bottom-mounted freezer with an automatic icemaker. 11.80AV + 423.2 0.417av + 423.2
16. Compact upright freezers with manual defrost. 8.65AV + 225.7 0.306av + 225.7
17. Compact upright freezers with automatic defrost. 10.17AV + 351.9 0.359av + 351.9
18. Compact chest freezers. 9.25AV + 136.8 0.327av + 136.8

AV= adjusted volume in cubic feet; av = adjusted volume in liters

In the table above the energy standards are determined by multiplying the maximum energy use allowed measured in kWh/year by the sum of the adjusted volume (AV) plus the second number in the following table. The product should be rounded off to the nearest kWh per year. If the calculation is halfway between the nearest two kWh per year values, round it up to the higher of these values.

After a regulatory action has been completed, Executive Order 12866 requires agencies to identify the substantive changes between the draft submitted to Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) for review and the action subsequently announced, and to identify those changes made at the suggestion or recommendation of OIRA. The document below provides more information:

Test Procedure for Residential Refrigerators and Freezers

Current Test Procedure

To determine compliance with DOE standards, manufacturers must follow the test procedures specified at 10 CFR 430.23(a) and Appendix A1 for residential refrigerators and refrigerator-freezers, and for freezers at 10 CFR 430.23(b) and Appendix B1. These test procedures must be followed as of June 14, 2011. Beginning on September 14, 2014, manufacturers must use Appendix A for residential refrigerators and refrigerator-freezers, and Appendix B for freezers. These are also in the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations.

DOE most recently amended Appendix A1 and Appendix B1 in the following rulemaking:

DOE most recently amended Appendix A and Appendix B in the following rulemaking:

For further guidance or to submit questions related to the implementation of this test procedure, visit the Guidance and Frequently Asked Questions page.

Waivers, Exceptions, and Exemptions

Waivers

Test procedure waivers have been issued for residential refrigerators and freezers. For more information on the waivers granted and those waiver petitions still pending final action, if any, please see waiver actions.

For information about obtaining test procedure waivers, see 10 CFR 430.27.

Exceptions

DOE's Office of Hearings and Appeals has authorized exception relief for certain refrigerator-freezers with automatic defrost, bottom-mounted freezers through-the-door ice service, certain upright freezers with automatic defrost and through-the-door ice service, and for certain chest freezers with automatic defrost. For more information, see the table below.

Exception Issued To Date Case No.
Electrolux Home Products, Inc. September 13, 2004 TEE-0012
Maytag Corporation August 11, 2005 TEE-0022
LG Electronics, Inc. November 9, 2005 TEE-0025
Samsung Electronics America July 26, 2007 TEE-0047
Electrolux Home Products, Inc. December 1, 2008 TEE-0056
BSH Home Appliances Corporation April 23, 2010 TEE-0070
GE Appliances & Lighting March 1, 2011 TEE-0074
BSH Home Appliances Corporation January 4, 2012 EXC-11-0001

For information about obtaining exception relief, see 10 CFR part 1003.

Small Business Exemptions

Any manufacturer of a covered product with annual gross revenues that do not exceed $8,000,000 from all its operations and meets certain other conditions may apply for an exemption to the energy conservation standard. For details, see CFR part 430, subpart E.

Statutory Authority

Historical Information

The amendments made to the EPCA by the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act of 1987 (NAECA; Pub. L. 100-357) included mandatory energy conservation standards for refrigeration products and requirements that DOE conduct two cycles of rulemakings to determine whether to amend these standards. DOE completed the first of these rulemaking cycles by adopting amended performance standards for all refrigeration products manufactured on or after January 1, 1993. DOE completed a second rulemaking cycle to amend the standards for refrigeration products by issuing the 1997 final rule, which adopted the current standards for these products. DOE completed a third rulemaking cycle to amend the standards for refrigeration products by issuing a final rule on September 15, 2011.

Previous Test Procedures

Helpful Links and Contact Information

Helpful Links

Find tips and guidance for making your home, workplace, or vehicle more energy efficient visit EnergySavers.gov.

DOE supports the testing and verification of ENERGY STAR® products in close collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency. ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerators are 20% more energy efficient than the minimum federal standard.

Contact information

For more information related to the regulation of this product, please email:


refrigerators_and_freezers@ee.doe.gov