How Refrigerators Meet Higher Efficiency Standards

Learn how refrigerators meet higher efficiency standards. The Department of Energy says it is aggressively developing and implementing updated requirements for the Energy Star appliance efficiency standards. One of these is a new standard for refrigerators, which it says will save U.S. consumers up to $23.5 million in energy costs.
By Alison Rogers
December 2007/January 2008
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Higher energy efficiency standards can help reduce energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions.
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Refrigerators must get an update to qualify for the Energy Star program, learn how refrigerators meet higher efficiency standards.

How Refrigerators Meet Higher Efficiency Standards

Refrigerators must now meet higher efficiency standards to qualify for the Energy Star label, which helps consumers identify products that use less energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have increased the program’s efficiency requirements for full-size units to 20 percent more than those of current models, effective April 28. The DOE recently was criticized for its failure to comply with a schedule to update standards, but now says it is aggressively developing and implementing improvements. The new refrigerator standards, according to the DOE, will save U.S. consumers up to $23.5 million in energy costs.

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9/19/2008 1:00:41 PM
I was thrilled to learn our landlord was replacing the old,larger, leaking clunker and ran all the time, wioth an Energy Star unit. We thought to surely see the power bill drop like a rock. UNfortunately, that was not so. The first half month, the bill increased by $10. The next full month, it increased by $20 over the old unit's usage. At that point, I called PUD for an energy audit. AND, I used leftover foam insulation boards to add 1" more insulation on the sides and front, and 2" on the top. [NOT on the back--the back panel must be able to do heat exchanging in refrigerators!] Immediately, the run-time was cut in about half. The following power bill showed a $10 decrease below the old refrigerator's use. About that time, the PUD guy came by. He used a meter to measure use by the refrigerator, and showed it was doing fine, registering low usage. He could not locate any reason why our bill has been so high. During a three day power outage, the extra insulation saved all the food in the refrigerator--we just kept the doors sealed up during that time, so it would not lose any of the remaining cool. I have my suspicions it is partly related to the computerized meters PUD installed everywhere, since MANY people complained about largely increased bills, even though they had not changed their usage. One person got their meter replaced three times by PUD, because PUD couldn't believe their meter was registering properly--the customer has a 300-amp service, but only used a light, a radio and a refrigerator--they heat with wood. There is something not right here. Beyond that, further research disclosed: one means companies have of getting their products to comply with "Energy Star" qualifications, is to remove the works of the machine, "bench test" the smaller works that fits the parameters, get it Ok'd, then install those smaller works into a larger box. It would have been FAR better if they just doubled

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