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Dishwashers and Clothes Washers

Scope

ENERGY STAR rated dishwasher.
ENERGY STAR rated dishwasher.

If the following types of appliances are financed, installed, or sold as upgrades through the homebuilder, they shall meet these criteria:

Dishwashers (Section 3.7.1)

  • Dishwashers shall be ENERGY STAR® certified. 
  • ENERGY STAR certified dishwashers are also water-efficient.

Clothes Washers (Section 3.7.2) 

  • Clothes washers, including those in common-use laundry rooms of multi-family buildings, shall be ENERGY STAR certified with a water factor of less than or equal to 6.0 gallons of water per cycle per cubic foot capacity.
  • ENERGY STAR certified clothes washers with a water factor of 6.0 or less will help the new home save water and energy.

See the Compliance Tab for related codes and standards requirements, and criteria to meet national programs such as DOE’s Zero Energy Ready Home program, ENERGY STAR Certified Homes, and Indoor airPLUS.

 

Description

Dishwashers are one of the major water-using appliances in a typical home. ENERGY STAR® certified models use 31 percent less energy and 33 percent less water than conventional machines. ENERGY STAR certified models include several innovations that reduce energy and water consumption and improve performance, including soil sensors to test how dirty dishes are throughout the wash, and adjust the cycle to achieve optimum cleaning with minimum water and energy use. 

Residential water use
Figure 1. Residential water usage in the U.S. (courtesy of U.S. EPA WaterSense Program)

The ENERGY STAR criteria are based on specific energy consumption and water consumption levels. The maximum energy consumption is measured in kilowatt hours per year (kWh/year) and the maximum water consumption is measured in gallons per cycle. Table 1 identifies the current ENERGY STAR dishwasher criteria.

Table 1. ENERGY Dishwasher Criteria
Category Capacity ENERGY STAR Criteria (energy and water consumption)
Standard Size Models                     At least eight place settings plus six serving pieces

≤ 307 kWh/year

≤ 5.0 gal/cycle

Compact Size Models Less than eight place settings plus six serving pieces

≤ 222 kWh/year

≤ 3.5 gal/cycle

Clothes washers are one of the major water-using components in the typical American home. The average American family washes nearly 400 loads of laundry each year. ENERGY STAR certified clothes washers can cut related water costs and usage by more than half and save enough money in operating costs to pay for the matching dryer. ENERGY STAR certified clothes washers come in either front-load or advanced top-load designs. Both configurations include technical innovations that help save substantial amounts of energy and water. Front-loaders tumble clothes through a small amount of water instead of rubbing clothes against an agitator in a full tub. Advanced top-loaders use sophisticated wash systems to flip or spin clothes through a reduced stream of water. Both designs dramatically reduce the amount of hot water used in the wash cycle and the energy needed to heat that water. Efficient motors also spin clothes two to three times faster during the spin cycle to extract more water. Less moisture in the clothes means less time and energy in the dryer.

WaterSense labeled dishwasher
Figure 2. Highly efficient ENERGY STAR clothes washers reduce water and energy usage. (Courtesy of U.S. EPA WaterSense Program)

To qualify for the ENERGY STAR label, a clothes washer, both top and front loading, must have a capacity of greater than 1.6 ft3 and have a minimum modified energy factor (MEF) of 2.0 and a maximum water factor of 6.0. MEF is an equation that takes into account the amount of dryer energy used to remove the remaining moisture content in washed items.The water factor is a water performance metric that allows the comparison of clothes washer water consumption independent of clothes washer capacity. It is the quotient of the total weighted per-cycle water consumption divided by the capacity of the clothes washer. Lower numbers indicate more efficient use of water.

To identify ENERGY STAR certified dishwashers, look for the ENERGY STAR label on products and product packaging. See a List of ENERGY STAR Dishwashers.

To identify ENERGY STAR certified clothes washers with a water factor of 6.0 or less, look for the ENERGY STAR label on products and product packaging.

A listing of certified residential clothes washers and their water factors can be found at https://www.energystar.gov/productfinder/product/certified-clothes-washers/results

A listing of certified ENERGY STAR Commercial Clothes Washers

 

Ensuring Success

The inspector will verify that the installed dishwasher and/or clothes washer has an ENERGY STAR® label and that the clothes washers has a water factor equal to or less than 6.0. If no label is present, the inspector will check the brand and model number against ENERGY STAR’s list of certified dishwashers and clothes washers.

 

 

Climate

No climate-specific information applies. 

Training

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Compliance

The Compliance tab contains both program and code information. Code language is excerpted and summarized below. For exact code language, refer to the applicable code, which may require purchase from the publisher. While we continually update our database, links may have changed since posting. Please contact our webmaster if you find broken links.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) WaterSense® New Home Specification

The EPA WaterSense New Home Specification states that:

  • Dishwashers, if installed in the new home, shall be ENERGY STAR® certified.
  • Clothes washers, including those in common-use laundry rooms of multi-family buildings, shall be ENERGY STAR certified with a water factor of less than or equal to 6.0 gallons of water per cycle per cubic foot capacity.

 

This Retrofit tab provides information that helps installers apply this “new home” guide to improvement projects for existing homes. This tab is organized with headings that mirror the new home tabs, such as “Scope,” “Description,” “Success,” etc. If there is no retrofit-specific information for a section, that heading is not included.

Guidance for the measures described in this guide is applicable to both new and existing homes.

DOE’s Standard Work Specifications describe practices to complete whole-house energy upgrades safely without injury or hazardous exposure in the section on Global Worker Safety. The specifications also provide some specific guidance on clothes washer and dishwasher replacement.

More Info.

Access to some references may require purchase from the publisher. While we continually update our database, links may have changed since posting. Please contact our webmaster if you find broken links.

Case Studies

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References and Resources*

  1. Publication Date: June, 2017

    Resource that provides guidance when choosing commercial clothes washers that meet WaterSense program requirements. 

  2. Author(s): U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Organization(s): EPA
    Publication Date: July, 2014

    Resource that provides WaterSense inspectors with guidance for verification of program requirements for water-efficient new homes under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) WaterSense program.

  3. Publication Date: June, 2017

    Resource that provides guidance when choosing dishwashers that meet WaterSense program requirements. 

  4. Author(s): EPA
    Organization(s): U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Publication Date: June, 2017

    Resource that provides guidance when choosing residential clothes washers that meet WaterSense program requirements. 

  5. Author(s): U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Organization(s): EPA
    Publication Date: July, 2014

    Resource to help builders better understand the WaterSense requirements for labeled homes and assist them in meeting the criteria so they can receive the label for their new construction.

  6. Author(s): U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Organization(s): EPA
    Publication Date: July, 2014

    Resource that provides a checklist of program criteria for water-efficient new homes under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) WaterSense program.

  7. Author(s): U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Organization(s): EPA
    Publication Date: July, 2014

    Resource that establishes the criteria for water-efficient new homes under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) WaterSense program.

  8. Author(s): EPA
    Organization(s): U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Publication Date: June, 2017

    Resource that provides guidance when choosing products that meet WaterSense program requirements.

Contributors to this Guide

The following authors and organizations contributed to the content in this Guide.

Last Updated: 06/23/2017