Microwave Ovens

THE PRODUCT:

Microwave ovens cook or heat food and beverages by converting electricity to microwave radiation to heat water molecules within the substance.

THE STANDARD:

DOE issued microwave test procedures for standby and off mode in January 2013 and the first-ever efficiency standards for microwave ovens in June 2013. The new standard specifies a maximum standby power of 1.0 watt for microwave-only ovens and countertop combination microwave ovens and 2.2 watts for built-in and over-the-range combination microwave ovens. According to DOE, the standard for microwaves sold over 30 years is estimated to save 0.48 quads of primary energy and to generate $1.5- $3.4 billion in net present value savings. The standard will take effect in 2016.

KEY FACTS:

According to the 2009 Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) by the EIA, about 95% of U.S. households own a microwave. DOE identified four technology options that could reduce electricity consumption in standby mode: 1) lower-power display options; 2) cooking sensors with no standby power requirement; 3) improved power supply and control board options; and, 4) automatic power-down. While conventional cooking sensors (which tell the microwave when to shut off during a cooking cycle) consume 1-2 watts in standby mode, multiple sensor technologies are available that consume zero standby power. Adding an automatic power-down element, which turns off most power-consuming components after a certain period of inactivity, could achieve standby power levels of less than 1 W.

Projected Savings

Microwave Oven Final Rule 2013
Savings through what year?:
2045
Energy saved (quads):
0.48
CO2 savings (million metric tons):
38.11
Net present value savings ($billion) 3% discount rate:
3.38
Net present value savings ($billion) 7% discount rate:
1.53

Timeline

Federal Date States
Potential Effective Date of Updated Standard 2024
Updated DOE Standard Due 2021
1st Federal Standard Effective 2016
1st Federal Standard Adopted (DOE) 2013
Test Procedure - Last Revised - Standby/Off Mode 2013
NAECA Initial Federal Legislation Enacted 1987

Timeline reflects state standards from 2001 to present; federal standards from inception to present.