September 22, 2014

New ENERGY STAR standards for fridges and freezers — Overview of the changes

The new ENERGY STAR standards took effect on September 15, 2014 and brought a couple of changes to the way fridges and freezers are rated.

Written by
Kyle S.

Technology is constantly improving, and with a growing awareness for the need of saving energy, electronic devices and home appliances are getting more energy efficient. Many consumers see that buying energy efficient appliances saves money in the long run and is also good for the environment. To keep that development moving, official standards and minimum efficiency requirements are getting changed as technology is involving. Such a change has recently happened for refrigerators and freezers.

The new ENERGY STAR standards took effect on September 15, 2014 and brought a couple of changes to the way fridges and freezers are rated:

  • ENERGY STAR fridges and freezers are using at least 10% less energy than minimum efficiency standards require.
  • There are a number of fridges and freezers with (optional) connected functionality, providing energy efficient features: alert function when the door hasn’t been closed, remotely managing fridge settings (for example, putting the fridge into an energy saving vacation mode), and the ability to view how much energy the fridge is actually consuming at any time.
  • Another feature is “smart grid” compatibility: If the local utility offers that service, the fridge/freezer will automatically adjust its energy use depending on demand and using more energy when it makes sense environmentally.

Another change that came with the new standard is the way the Department of Energy tests annual energy use of fridges and freezers. The measurements have been improved by adding new methods to measure the volume of compartments, new compartment temperatures, and new volume-adjustment factors. Also new is the way automatic defrosting is tested, the new method should now include all energy use that has to do with the defrost function. Fridges and freezers with a single compressor and multiple evaporators which have separate active defrost cycles can also be tested now. The energy use of fridges that have an automatic icemaker can now be calculated better using a fixed value for those icemakers.

We’ll continue tracking trends in price, efficiency and sales and keep you updated!

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