Dishwashers and Clothes Washers

    Scope Images
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    ENERGY STAR rated dishwasher.
    Scope

    The following types of appliances may contribute to the 30% efficiency requirement of a specific WaterSense Approved Certification Method (WACM) if they are financed, installed or sold as upgrades through the homebuilders:

    Best Practice (optional): Dishwashers

    • Install Energy Star Certified dishwashers.
    • ENERGY STAR certified dishwashers are both energy- and water-efficient.

    Best Practice (optional): Clothes Washers

    • ENERGY STAR certified clothes washers with  water factor of less than or equal to 6.0 gallons of water per cycle per cubic foot capacity may contribute to the 30% efficiency requirement within a specific WACM. These may include clothes washers in common-use laundry rooms of multi-family buildings.
    • ENERGY STAR certified clothes washers with a water factor of 6.0 or less will help homes 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 programENERGY STAR Single-Family New 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. (Source: U.S. EPA WaterSense.)

     

    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. (Source: U.S. EPA WaterSense.)

     

    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 here

    A listing of certified ENERGY STAR Commercial Clothes Washers

     

    Ensuring Success

    If dishwasher and/or clothes washers are installed AND are contributing to the 30% efficiency threshold within the specified WACM, the verifier will verify that the water factor of the installed appliances match the values used to calculate the 30% efficiency threshold within a specific WACM.  The verifier 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. 

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    ENERGY STAR appliances like the dishwasher and refrigerator save energy and money for consumers.
    ENERGY STAR appliances like the dishwasher and refrigerator save energy and money for consumers.

    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.

     

    ENERGY STAR Single-Family New Homes, Version 3/3.1 (Rev. 11)

    National Program Requirements

    ENERGY STAR refrigerators, dishwashers, and ceiling fans are modeled in the ENERGY STAR Reference Design Home.

    The ENERGY STAR Reference Design Home is the set of efficiency features modeled to determine the ENERGY STAR ERI Target for each home pursuing certification. Therefore, while the features below are not mandatory, if they are not used then other measures will be needed to achieve the ENERGY STAR ERI Target. In addition, note that the Mandatory Requirements for All Certified Homes, Exhibit 2, contain additional requirements such as total duct leakage limits, minimum allowed insulation levels, and minimum allowed fenestration performance. Therefore, EPA recommends that partners review the documents in Exhibit 2 prior to selecting measures.

    Please see the ENERGY STAR Single-Family New Homes Implementation Timeline for the program version and revision currently applicable in your state.

     

    ENERGY STAR Certified Dishwashers Criteria

    ENERGY STAR calls for dishwasher models to meet certain criteria to receive qualification for the ENERGY STAR label and promotion on the certified products list.

     

    ENERGY STAR Certified Clothes Washers Criteria

    ENERGY STAR calls for clothes washer models to meet certain criteria to receive qualification for the ENERGY STAR label and promotion on the certified products list.

     

    DOE Zero Energy Ready Home (Revision 07)

    Exhibit 1 Mandatory Requirements.
    Exhibit 1, Item 1) Certified under the ENERGY STAR Qualified Homes Program or the ENERGY STAR Multifamily New Construction Program.
    Exhibit 1, Item 5) All installed refrigerators, dishwashers, and clothes washers are ENERGY STAR qualified.

     

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) WaterSense® Home Specification

    The EPA WaterSense Home Specification states that:

    • Dishwashers, if installed in the home, can contribute to the 30% efficiency requirement.
    • Clothes washers, including those in common-use laundry rooms of multi-family buildings, with a water factor of less than or equal to 6.0 gallons of water per cycle per cubic foot capacity can contribute to the 30% efficiency requirement.

     

    Existing Homes

    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.

    References and Resources*
    Author(s)
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Organization(s)
    EPA
    Publication Date
    Description
    Brochure providing information for homeowners, builders, verifiers, and facilities including an overview of program criteria, the certification process, and EPA-approved home certification organizations for water-efficient homes under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) WaterSense...
    Author(s)
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Organization(s)
    EPA
    Publication Date
    Description
    Document of requirements including checklist that establishes the criteria for water-efficient homes under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) WaterSense program, Version 2.0.
    Author(s)
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Organization(s)
    EPA
    Publication Date
    Description
    Website providing a description of the WaterSense labeled homes program and a checklist of mandatory requirements for homes to be labeled under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) WaterSense program, Version 2.0.
    Author(s)
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Organization(s)
    EPA
    Publication Date
    Description
    List providing information on all Home Certification Organizations (HCO) and their specific WaterSense Approved Certification Methods (WACMs). HCO specific factsheets: CHEERS, Green Builder Coalition, Home Innovation Research Labs, Home Innovation Research Labs - WRI, RESNET
    Author(s)
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Organization(s)
    EPA
    Publication Date
    Description
    Resource that provides a directory of individuals that have successfully completed all requirements of at least one WaterSense Approved Certification Method (WACM) through a Home Certification Organization (HCO).
    Author(s)
    EPA
    Organization(s)
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Publication Date
    Description
    Resource that provides a directory of individuals that have sucessfully completed all requirements of at least one WaterSense labeled professional certification program.
    Author(s)
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Organization(s)
    EPA
    Publication Date
    Description
    Website providing lists of WaterSense-qualified products for home plumbing and irrigation equipment that meet the requirements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) WaterSense program.
    Publication Date
    Description
    Resource that provides guidance when choosing dishwashers that meet WaterSense program requirements.
    Author(s)
    EPA
    Organization(s)
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Publication Date
    Description
    Resource that provides guidance when choosing residential clothes washers that meet WaterSense program requirements.
    Publication Date
    Description
    Resource that provides guidance when choosing dishwashers that meet WaterSense program requirements.
    *For non-dated media, such as websites, the date listed is the date accessed.
    Contributors to this Guide

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

    Building Science Measures
    Building Science-to-Sales Translator

    Water Efficient Appliances =

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    Technical Description

    Look for ENERGY STAR-certified appliances when buying clothes washers or dish-washers. ENERGY STAR-certified clothes washers uses about 25% less energy and 40% less water than regular washers. An ENERGY STAR dish washer will save, on average, 1,600 gallons of water over its lifetime compared to a dishwasher built before 1994. Energy savings result from reduced hot water consumption.


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