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WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced tougher standards for clothes washers to qualify for the ENERGY STAR® label, which lets American families identify which clothes washers save the most energy and use the least water.  The new standards take effect January 1, 2007, and will increase the efficiency of new clothes washers up to 37 percent.  The more energy-efficient clothes washers will have the potential to save up to $70 million in energy bills and 8.9 billion gallons of water each year.

"With these tougher ENERGY STAR® standards, families will be able to choose more energy-efficient clothes washers that use over a third less energy," said Douglas L. Faulkner, Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.  "That means families can have significantly lower energy bills while getting a better product."

ENERGY STAR® is a voluntary program co-sponsored by DOE and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  Manufacturers earn the right to use the label on the product and in their advertising if it meets ENERGY STAR®'s stringent criteria.

In 2004 alone, Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR® appliances, saved enough energy to power 24 million homes and aided the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions - all while saving $10 billion in energy bills.  Energy-efficient choices can save families about a third on their energy bill with similar savings without sacrificing features, style or comfort.

The standards are being changed to a minimum Modified Energy Factor (MEF) of 1.72, and a maximum Water Factor (WF) of 8.0.  By comparison, ENERGY STAR® washers were required to meet a MEF of 1.26 in 2001 and 1.42 in 2004, in order to match scheduled increases in federal standards.

The Department of Energy works in partnership with industry, utilities, energy efficiency program sponsors, academia and nonprofit organizations to make energy efficiency a national priority.  ENERGY STAR® is one of several programs aimed at engaging the American public in the goal of using energy wisely while maintaining its standard of living.

Media contact(s):

Chris Kielich, 202/586-5806