U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Building Technologies Program
Appliance Success Stories
On this page you'll find Building Technologies Program success stories on appliance technology research and development.
There are several success stories in appliance technology R&D that address a number of major home appliances, including the following:
A cooperative agreement was formed with the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) Appliance Research Consortium to establish technically achievable energy saving. DOE researchers designed and demonstrated an advanced refrigerator-freezer that uses less than 1 kilowatt-hour per day—half as much energy as the latest government standards allow, and one-fifth as much as 1972 models. This outstanding energy efficiency was achieved by:
- Using vacuum insulation panels around the freezer section and a double-insulation thickness of polyurethane foam on the doors.
- Replacing standard AC fan motors with more efficient DC motors.
- Replacing the automatic defrost control with an adaptive defrost that operates only when needed.
Power consumption for a 20-square-foot refrigerator-freezer is only 0.93 kilowatt-hours per day, a performance level far exceeding the government's 2001 energy standard, which requires units of this size to consume no more than 2.01 kilowatt-hours per day. If all 125 million refrigerator-freezers in the United States operated as efficiently, consumers would save $6.5 billion annually.
Horizontal-axis clothes washers
A landmark study, conducted by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, demonstrated the benefit of horizontal-axis clothes washers. In cooperation with Maytag, the study tested the real-world efficiency of the washers in the small community of Bern, Kansas. The study found energy savings of 60% and water savings of 40%. A follow-up demonstration in Boston, MA produced equally impressive results.
Read about the Building Technologies Program "drop-in" residential heat pump water heater project.