DOE Ensures Dishwashers, Washers, and Dryers Don’t Guzzle Energy


Contact: Ben Somberg, 202-658-8129,

ASAP logo

Washington, DC—The Department of Energy (DOE) issued a final rule today ensuring that all new dishwashers, clothes washers, and dryers meet federal energy and water efficiency standards set about a decade ago. The action effectively undoes two 2020 rules issued by the previous administration that could have allowed certain models to use unlimited energy and water.

“Undoing this Trump gimmick is a needed step, but the administration still needs to finish undoing several other Trump rollbacks and start updating standards for dozens of products,” said Andrew deLaski, executive director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP). “It’s progress that we’re back to where we were a few years ago on these products, but keep in mind they’re all legally overdue for efficiency updates.”

The 2020 rules at issue created separate “product classes” for dishwashers and clothes washers and dryers that have a short cycle as the “normal” cycle, effectively absolving such models of the need to meet existing energy and water standards. These models could have used unlimited energy and water because DOE never set a separate standard for them. Fortunately, no major manufacturer created a product exploiting the loophole, and several publicly opposed the 2020 rules.

The 2020 rules were unneeded because the vast majority of today’s dishwashers already offer short cycles, which in some instances consume modestly more energy than the default cycles but are used infrequently, according to customer surveys. And many clothes washer and dryer models already have short cycle times and meet the efficiency standards.

President Biden directed agencies in a January 20, 2021 executive order to identify Trump-era actions that merited “suspending, revising, or rescinding,” and to complete action doing so by the end of 2021. DOE identified each of the Trump rollbacks and roadblocks in a memo. The department still needs to finalize a proposal undoing Trump-era process hurdles (it recently finalized a rule undoing several of these hurdles). And it needs to take final action on two separate proposals to undo Trump-era rollbacks on standards for light bulbs.

The Department of Energy could slash greenhouse gas emissions and home energy costs by updating standards for about 50 products by 2025—including dishwashers, clothes washers, and dryers.


The Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP) organizes and leads a broad-based coalition effort that works to advance, win and defend new appliance, equipment and lighting standards which deliver large energy and water savings, monetary savings and environmental benefits.