The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) provides acquisition guidance for commercial dishwashers, a product category covered by ENERGY STAR efficiency requirements. Federal laws and requirements mandate that agencies purchase ENERGY STAR-qualified products or FEMP-designated products in all product categories covered by these programs and in any acquisition actions that are not specifically exempted by law.

FEMP's acquisition guidance and associated ENERGY STAR efficiency requirements for commercial dishwashers apply to undercounter type (with wash cycles of 10 minutes or less); stationary single-tank, door type; pot, pan, and utensil type; single- and multiple-tank conveyor type; and single- and multiple-tank flight type commercial dishwashers. In the federal sector, these products are used in commercial food service operations like cafeterias in General Services Administration (GSA) buildings, kitchens in hospitals and medical centers, and commissaries on military bases.

Residential dishwashers are covered by separate ENERGY STAR efficiency requirements. Laboratory-grade products, and steam, gas, and other non-electric commercial models are excluded.

This acquisition guidance was updated in January 2020.

Find Product Efficiency Requirements

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides commercial dishwasher efficiency levels and product specification information on its ENERGY STAR website. Manufacturers meeting these requirements are allowed to display the ENERGY STAR label on complying models. Get a list of ENERGY STAR certified commercial dishwashers. As of December 2019, the version 3.0 ENERGY STAR product specification for commercial dishwashers was not published. Please check ENERGY STAR's commercial dishwashers web page for updates on the version 3.0 specification.

Make a Cost-Effective Purchase: Save More than $3,493* or More by Buying ENERGY STAR

FEMP has calculated that the required ENERGY STAR-qualified commercial dishwasher saves money if priced no more than $3,493* (in 2018 dollars) above the less efficient model. The best available model saves up to $5,501. Table 1 compares three types of high-temperature, stationary, single-tank, door-type dishwashers and calculates the lifetime cost savings of purchasing efficient models. Federal purchasers can assume products that meet ENERGY STAR efficiency requirements are life cycle cost-effective.

Table 1. Lifetime Savings for Efficient Commercial Dishwasher Models
PerformanceBest AvailableENERGY STARLess Efficient
Idle Energy Rate0.25 kW0.70 kW0.87 kW
Water Consumption0.66 gal/rack0.89 gal/rack1.29 gal/rack
Annual Electricity Consumption3,240 kWh4,368 kWh6,332 kWh
Annual Natural Gas Consumption237 therm320 therm463 therm
Annual Water Consumption33,000 gal44,500 gal64,500 gal
Annual Utilities Cost$592$799$1,157
Lifetime Utilities Cost$5,763$7,772$11,264
Lifetime Utilities Cost Savings$5,501$3,493*======

*The Lifetime Utilities Cost Savings number is rounded up; it is not in error.

View the Performance and Model Assumptions for Table 1

Performance Column

Idle Energy Rate: Represents the total idle kilowatts consumed by the machine with the door closed, including all tank heater(s) and controls. Booster heater (internal or external) energy consumption should not be part of this measurement unless it cannot be separately monitored per the ENERGY STAR Test Method.

Water Consumption: A measure of gallons of water used per dishwasher rack. 

Annual Electricity, Natural Gas, and Water Consumption: Assumes a high-temperature, stationary, single-tank, door-type dishwasher cleaning 200 racks of dishes, 250 days per year. Assumes the building hot water system uses natural gas and the booster water heater uses electricity. Annual electricity, natural gas, and water use is determined using the ENERGY STAR Test Method for Commercial Dishwashers (revised May 2012).

Annual Utilities Cost: Calculated based on an assumed electricity price of $0.09/kWh, and an assumed rate for natural gas of $0.63 per therm. Water and sewer costs are assumed to be $4.80 per 1,000 gallons. All utility costs represent the average at federal facilities throughout the United States.

Lifetime Utilities Cost: The sum of the discounted values of annual electricity, natural gas, and water costs with an average commercial dishwasher life of 15 years. Future utility price trends and a 3% discount rate are from Energy Price Indices and Discount Factors for Life-Cycle Cost Analysis–2019: Annual Supplement to NIST Handbook 135 (NISTIR 85-3273-34).

Lifetime Utilities Cost Savings: The difference between the lifetime cost of utilities for the less efficient model and the lifetime cost of utilities for the ENERGY STAR model or best available model.  These savings are based on efficiency standards from the version 2.0 specification.

Best Available Model Column

Calculated based on the December 2019 ENERGY STAR List of Qualified Products; values shown are rounded to the nearest dollar. More efficient models may be introduced to the market after FEMP's acquisition guidance is posted.

ENERGY STAR Model Column

Calculated based on current ENERGY STAR eligibility criteria; values shown are rounded to the nearest dollar. Federal agencies must purchase products that meet or exceed ENERGY STAR efficiency levels.

Less Efficient Model Column

Calculated based ENERGY STAR’s assumption for "Conventional Model."

Determine When ENERGY STAR Products Are Cost-Effective

An efficient product is cost-effective when the lifetime energy savings (from avoided energy costs over the life of the product, discounted to present value) exceed the additional up-front cost (if any) compared to a less efficient option. ENERGY STAR considers up-front costs and lifetime energy savings when setting required efficiency levels. Federal purchasers can assume ENERGY STAR-qualified products and products that meet FEMP-designated efficiency requirements are life cycle cost-effective. In high-use applications or when energy rates are above the federal average, purchasers may save more if they specify products that exceed federal efficiency requirements (e.g., the best available model).

Contact ENERGY STAR for more information about annual and lifetime cost savings available from ENERGY STAR-certified products.

Claim an Exception to Federal Purchasing Requirements

Products meeting ENERGY STAR or FEMP-designated efficiency requirements may not be life cycle cost-effective in certain low-use applications or in locations with very low rates for electricity or natural gas. However, for most applications, purchasers will find that energy-efficient products have the lowest life cycle cost.

Agencies may claim an exception to federal purchasing requirements through a written finding that no FEMP-designated or ENERGY STAR-qualified product is available to meet functional requirements, or that no such product is life cycle cost-effective for the specific application. Learn more about federal product purchasing requirements.

Incorporate Federal Acquisition Regulation Language in Contracts

These mandatory requirements apply to all forms of procurement, including construction guide and project specifications; renovation, repair, energy service, and operation and maintenance (O&M) contracts; lease agreements; acquisitions made using purchase cards; and solicitations for offers. Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 23.206 requires agencies to insert the clause at FAR section 52.223-15 into contracts and solicitations that deliver, acquire, furnish, or specify energy-consuming products for use in federal government facilities. To comply with FAR requirements, FEMP recommends that agencies incorporate efficiency requirements into technical specifications, the evaluation criteria of solicitations, and the evaluations of solicitation responses.

Find Federal Supply Sources

The federal supply sources for energy-efficient products are the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). GSA sells products through its Multiple Awards Schedules program and online shopping network, GSA Advantage!. DLA offers products through the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia and online through FedMall (formerly DOD EMALL). Products sold through DLA are codified with a 13-digit National Stock Number (NSN) and, in some cases, a two-letter Environmental Attribute Code (ENAC). The ENAC identifies items that have positive environmental characteristics and meet standards set by an approved third party, such as FEMP and ENERGY STAR.

The United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC) is a worldwide classification system for e-commerce. It contains more than 50,000 commodities, including many used in the federal sector, each with a unique eight-digit, four-level identification code. Manufacturers and vendors are beginning to adopt the UNSPSC classification convention and electronic procurement systems are beginning to include UNSPSC tracking in their software packages. UNSPSCs can help the federal acquisition community identify product categories covered by sustainable acquisition requirements, track purchases of products within those categories, and report on progress toward meeting sustainable acquisition goals. FEMP has developed a table of ENERGY STAR and FEMP-designated covered product categories and related UNSPSC numbers.

Commercial Dishwasher Schedules and Product Codes

GSA offers energy-efficient commercial dishwashers through Schedule 51 V (Hardware Superstore).

DLA’s ENAC for commercial dishwashers is "DE."

The UNSPSC for commercial dishwashers is 48101615.

Buyer Tips: Make Informed Product Purchases

Dishwashers are typically the largest energy consumer in commercial kitchens and they should be carefully sized to match the expected load. Loads are typically measured in racks of dishes washed per hour. Small food service operations can utilize undercounter-type dishwashers with capacities of around 20 racks per hour. Larger kitchens can use conveyor-type systems capable of 200 racks or more per hour.

Most types of commercial dishwashers come in low- and high-temperature models. Low-temperature models use 140°F water plus chemical sanitizing and drying agents to clean the dishes. High-temperature models use 180°F water to clean, sanitize, and dry. Buyers should take the cost of both energy and chemicals into account when considering which model to purchase.

Many states and electric utilities offer rebates or other incentives for the purchase of ENERGY STAR-qualified products. Use the ENERGY STAR Rebate Finder to see if your local utility offers these incentives. FEMP’s Energy Incentive Program helps federal agencies take advantage of these incentives by providing information about the funding program opportunities available in each state.

User Tips: Use Products More Efficiently

Dishwashers should be fully loaded before use. Due to the high water temperature that must be maintained in internal storage tanks, commercial dishwashers consume a substantial amount of energy while idling (time spent between loads). Be sure to group racks to be washed and turn off dishwashers as soon as possible to reduce idle energy use.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory provided supporting analysis for this acquisition guidance.