Today, the US Department of Energy (DOE) issued a direct final rule establishing the first-ever efficiency standards for wine chillers. The new standards, which were negotiated by manufacturers and efficiency advocates, will reduce wine chiller energy use by 75% relative to the least efficient products on the market.
A negotiated rulemaking working group, which included industry representatives, such as the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), GE, Haier, Sub-Zero, U-Line, and Whirlpool, and efficiency advocates, including the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP), Earthjustice, and the California Investor-Owned Utilities, negotiated the new standards last year. The final rule implements the negotiated agreement.
Unlike conventional refrigerators, where four rounds of national standards have taken effect following multiple California standards, with average energy use decreasing by 75% since 1972, until now there were no national standards for wine chillers. California does have wine chiller standards, which were last updated in 2002. The new standards represent savings of 30% relative to the California standards.
The new standards cover beverage coolers including wine chillers and others (collectively “coolers”), as well as a smaller category of products referred to as “combination cooler refrigeration products,” which combine a refrigerator and/or freezer compartment with a wine storage compartment.
DOE estimates that about 1.5 million coolers are purchased annually. There is huge potential for improving the efficiency of coolers, with the most efficient products on the market using almost 10 times less energy than the least efficient.
According to DOE, the new standards will save an average consumer $265 over the life of a typical cooler. On a national level, the new standards will reduce electricity consumption by about 160 billion kilowatt-hours over 30 years of sales, which is equivalent to the annual electricity use of about 13 million US households, and yield savings of $5-11 billion for consumers.
The new standards will take effect at the end of 2019.