WASHINGTON (CN) - By adopting more efficient energy standards for top loading clothes washing machines, the Department of Energy expects to eliminate the need for 18 MW of electricity generating capacity over the next 30 years, according to rules issued by the agency.
Consumers who buy machines manufactured under the new standard, which goes into effect in 2013, are expected to see a yearly reduction in energy and water costs of between $50 and $100. This yearly savings will offset an average increase of $214 in the cost of the initial purchase and installation of top-loading washing machines.
Current standards, adopted in 2007, require top loading machines to have the capacity to wash 1.26 cubic feet of laundry per kilowatt-hour and to use no more than 9.5 gallons of water while doing so.
The new standards will require increasing the washing capacity per kilowatt hour of top loading machines to 1.60 cubic feet and a reduction in the water used to 8.5 gallons. Front loading washers, which account for only 4 percent of washing machine sales, are far more efficient, and under the new standards will wash 2 cubic feet of laundry per kilowatt hour using just 5.5 gallons of water.
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