The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released new guidelines that dishwashers must meet to earn the Energy Star label. They're eight percent tougher than current standards and promise up to a 20 percent gain in efficiency over units that don't wear the blue label.
It's expected that some dishwashers may have to run slightly longer cycles to make up for using less water, but for the first time the rules also take into account how well the appliances perform. That means consumers won't have to waste additional energy washing their dishes a second time, or handwashing dishes before putting them into a more efficient washer.
While dishwashers are far more efficient than washing dishes by hand, the new Energy Star rules go even further. The EPA estimates that if all dishwashers in the US met the upcoming new requirements, it would amount to a $235 million per year savings in consumers' energy bills and reduce greenhouse gases equivalent to taking 180,000 cars off the road.
The rules apply to all compact and full-size dishwashers built after January 20, 2012, and they were developed with industry input. While manufacturers previously verified product performance themselves, the EPA is now requiring appliances to be tested by an approved third-party in an EPA-certified laboratory. Products that don't meet the testing requirements can still be sold, but they won't be able to wear an Energy Star label.