Clothes Washers (Residential)

Water suppliers that have signed the Council’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) must either provide incentives or institute ordinances that require the purchase of high-efficiency clothes washers meeting an average Water Factor of 5.0. If WaterSense adopts a lower Water Factor standard in the future, MOU signatories must comply with this lower standard. This is how the clothes washer Best Management Practice (BMP) is described in the MOU.


Several end-use studies in single-family settings have shown that clothes washing accounts for indoor water demand that is second only to toilets. Therefore, improving clothes washer efficiency has been a prominent goal among water suppliers interested in promoting conservation. Water suppliers have adopted a two-pronged approach for achieving this goal. They have advocated for mandatory water-use efficiency appliance standards; and they have implemented rebate programs to incentivize the retrofit of old inefficient washers.

RESIDENTIAL CLOTHES WASHER APPLIANCE STANDARDS

Residential clothes washers have been subject to Federal energy efficiency standards since 1988[1]. For example, The National Appliance Energy Conservation Act of 1987 states that “all rinse cycles of clothes washers shall include an unheated water option…” for clothes washers manufactured after January 1, 1988. This early rudimentary energy standard became progressively refined, appearing in the form of an “Energy Factor” metric in 1994, a “Modified Energy Factor” metric in 2004, and now an “Integrated Modified Energy Factor” for washers manufactured from 2015 onward. The aim of these refinements has been to create an energy-efficiency metric that first normalizes energy use for washer tub volume, and, second, captures total energy used by the washer/dryer combination. A washer uses energy to both run the washing machine and to supply the hot water. However, a washer that squeezes out more moisture from a load of wash reduces subsequent drying energy, an aspect of washer design that the early “Energy Factors” failed to capture but were subsequently included in the definition of “Modified Energy Factors.” The latest “Integrated Modified Energy Factor” is the most comprehensive metric developed to date, capturing energy used by hot water in an average wash cycle, the washer’s own electric energy consumption including when it is in stand-by mode, and drying energy. A higher energy factor indicates a more energy-efficient washing machine.

While water-use efficiency of clothes washers has also increased over time as a byproduct of the quest for greater energy efficiency (for example, through the development of front-loading, horizontal axis washing machines), water conservation professionals and environmentalists both have advocated for explicit water efficiency standards for some time. In response, the Federal government adopted in 2007 a metric called “Water Factor,” which residential clothes washers must comply with if manufactured after January 1, 2011. A washing machine’s Water Factor indicates the gallons of water required per cycle per cubic foot of washer tub volume. Lower water factors indicate greater water-use efficiency. Federal residential clothes washer standards were again revised in 2012. These latest, more stringent standards will go into effect in two phases, in 2015 and then in 2018. The metric used to capture water use efficiency, has also been revised and now is called the “Integrated Water Factor.” “Water Factor” was based on water usage of the cold wash/cold rinse cycles of a washing machine, while the new “Integrated Water Factor” evaluates water consumption across all cycles.[2]

In the clothes washer/dryer context, the tight linkage between water and energy efficiency has caused many water and energy utilities to enter into cost-sharing partnerships for the implementation of HECW rebate and retrofit programs.

Tables 1 and 2 include the current, the 2015, and the 2018 efficiency standards applicable to residential clothes washers.[3]


Table 1 Residential Clothes Washers: Current Energy and Water Efficiency Standards

Product Category Minimum Modified Energy Factor (ft3/kWh/cycle) Maximum Water Factor (gal/cycle/ft3)
1. Top-loading, Compact (less than 1.6 ft3 capacity) 0.65a Not Applicable
2. Top-loading, Standard (1.6 ft3 or greater capacity) 1.26b 9.5c
3. Top-loading, Semi-automatic Not Applicabled Not Applicable
4. Front-loading 1.26b 9.5c,e
5. Suds-saving Not Applicablec,d Not Applicable


Unlike the existing standard, the amended standards differ for top and front loaders reflecting the different levels of improvement that is foreseeable within each product category. Two unpopular product categories have also been removed (top-loading semiautomatic and suds saving). The amended standards are designed to promote efficiency without impairing consumer choice. The consumer will continue to have access to a no frills, relatively inexpensive, top-loader (which will still be much more efficient than it was in the past) as well as full featured more expensive front loaders.

Apart from the Department of Energy’s (DOE) mandatory appliance standards that are designed to push the US economy toward greater energy efficiency (and sometimes water-use efficiency as a byproduct, as in the case of clothes washers), another voluntary program has also played a significant role in promoting energy and water use efficiency since it was first created in 1992. This is the Environmental Protection Agency’s voluntary EnergyStar labeling program. “The EnergyStar program has boosted the adoption of energy efficient products, practices, and services through valuable partnerships, objective measurement tools, and consumer education.” Surveys indicate that consumers have high awareness of the EnergyStar program and that this program over the years has successfully influenced consumer purchasing decisions in favor of more energy efficient products.[4]


Table 2 Residential Clothes Washers: Amended Energy and Water Efficiency Standards

Product Category Product Category Minimum Integrated Modified Energy Factor (ft3/kWh/cycle) Maximum Integrated Water Factor (gal/cycle/ft3)
1. Top-loading, Compact (less than 1.6 ft3 capacity) 1. Top-loading, Compact (less than 1.6 ft3 capacity) 0.86a1.15b 14.4a12.0b
2. Top-loading, Standard (1.6 ft3 or greater capacity) 2. Top-loading, Standard (1.6 ft3 or greater capacity) 1.29a1.57b 8.4a6.5b
3. Top-loading, Semi-automatic 3. Front-loading, Compact (less than 1.6 ft3 capacity) 1.13c 8.3c
4. Front-loading 4. Front-loading, Standard (1.6 ft3 or greater capacity) 1.84c 4.7c
5. Suds-saving Not Applicablec,d Not Applicable

a For clothes washers manufactured on or after March 7, 2015 and before January 1, 2018.
b For clothes washers manufactured on or after January 1, 2018.
c For clothes washers manufactured on or after March 7, 2015.


Residential clothes washers first qualified for the EnergyStar label in 1997. Since then the energy and water use efficiency metrics have been progressively tightened so that an EnergyStar washer is more efficient than one built to DOE’s clothes washer appliance standard (Federal standard). Going forward, however, the two sets of standards may begin to converge. Table 3 shows how EnergyStar and Federal appliance standards for residential clothes washers have changed over time. The current EnergyStar standard is the same as the one that went into effect on January 1st, 2011. The EnergyStar program started using an explicit water efficiency metric (Water Factor) four years prior to the mandatory Federal standard.

During the early years, EnergyStar standards for residential clothes washers were based on the pioneering efforts of the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE), a trade group composed of US and Canadian gas and electric utilities.[5] CEE’s mission is to promote higher levels of energy efficiency in the two interlinked economies, US and Canada. CEE adopted a multi-tier clothes washer standard in 2011, which is even more aggressive than EnergyStar (Table 3). A list of clothes washers that can meet these more exacting standards is available from the CEE.

Water and energy utilities looking to maximize cost-effectiveness of their rebate programs often limit their rebates to these CEE-approved washers. Indeed, it is in the interest of MOU signatories to limit their incentive programs to CEE Tier 2 or Tier 3 washers (as they often do) given that the high-efficiency clothes washer BMP requires them to promote washers with an average Water Factor of 5 or less. Limiting rebates to CEE Tier 2 or Tier 3 washers also reduces free-ridership since a large proportion of consumers are inclined to purchase EnergyStar endorsed washers anyway.


Table 3 Timeline of Federal, EnergyStar and CEE Residential Clothes Washer Standards

Criterion 1997 01/01/01 01/01/04 01/01/07 07/01/09 01/01/11
Federal (>1.6 ft3) EF=>1.18 MEF=>1.04 MEF=>1.26 MEF=>1.26 MEF=>1.26 MEF=>1.26 WF<=9.5
EnergyStar & CEE Tier 1 EF=>2.5 MEF=>1.26 MEF=>1.42 MEF=>1.72 WF<=8.0 MEF=>1.8 WF<=7.5 MEF=>2.0 WF<=6.0
CEE Tier 2 MEF=>2.2 WF<=4.5
CEE Tier 3 MEF=>2.4 WF<=4.0
5. Suds-saving Not Applicablec,d Not Applicable

Note: Current criteria and standards are in shaded boxes. Modified Energy Factor (MEF), the current measure of clothes washer efficiency, is the ratio

NOTE: Modified Energy Factor (MEF), the current measure of clothes washer efficiency, is the ratio of the capacity of the washer to the energy used in one cycle. MEF includes energy used to operate the machine, to heat the wash water, and to dry clothes after the wash. The previous metric, Energy Factor (EF), excluded drying energy. Water Factor (WF) measures the ratio of the quantity of water used in one cycle to the capacity of the washer.


WATER SAVINGS

Findings from Early Evaluations

Several data inputs are required to estimate the conservation potential of clothes washer retrofit programs. These include water use of the old washers being retrofitted, water use of the new washers taking their place, the number of loads per person washed per day, and the average number of people per household[6]. The first two inputs are the most difficult to quantify because washer designs, especially the new entrants, are so diverse. New entrants since the early 2000s have been subject to changing appliance standards. And even though they may not have been subject to explicit water efficiency standards until 2007 (via EnergyStar), these new entrants, whether EnergyStar compliant or not, probably were more water efficient as a byproduct of being subject to energy efficiency standards. Good data remain scarce about how the distribution of Water Factors has changed over time in the installed stock of clothes washers. Nonetheless, we try to connect the dots from the published literature as best as possible.


Table 4 Results from Early End-Use Studies and Regulatory Analyses

Study & (Report) Year Pre-Retrofit Use of Traditional Top-Loaders(Gallons/Cycle) Post-Retrofit Use of High Efficiency Washers(Gallons/Cycle)
THELMA, 1997 39.5 26.2
Bern, Kansas, 1998 41.5 25.8
REUWS, 1999 40.9 No Retrofits
DOE's Technical Support Document, 2000 39.2 N.A.
Seattle, 2000 40.9 24.3
SWEEP, 2001 40.5 25.2
EBMUD, 2003 40.7 27.2


Study & (Report) Year[7]

Several studies provide an estimate of water used by traditional top loaders, as well as by more efficient washers. These include results from THELMA, field trials completed in Bern, Kansas, the Residential End Uses of Water Study (REUWS), and other end use studies completed in Seattle, the Pacific Northwest (SWEEP study), and the Bay Area (Table 4). Except for REUWS, which only provides estimates of water used by various appliances and plumbing fixtures in a random sample of single family homes, the others are true pre-post retrofit studies providing water usage by appliance and plumbing fixture before retrofit and after retrofit with more efficient varieties. The earliest two studies, THELMA and Bern, were more than just impact evaluations. Their goals went beyond estimation of energy and water savings insofar as they also aimed to assess customer acceptance and satisfaction with high-efficiency, front loaders, which at the time were a new phenomenon in the US clothes washer market. In that sense, they were true technology demonstration projects.

These studies show that a traditional top-loader generally uses 39-41 gallons per wash cycle[8]. Valuable data are also available from DOE based upon information supplied by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) to assist DOE in the development of residential clothes washer standards. These data submitted by AHAM also concur with the above-mentioned range, suggesting that a typical top loader during the late 1990s used 39.2 gallons per wash cycle and had a tub volume of 2.83 cubic feet on average, leading to a Water Factor of roughly 13.8 for traditional top loaders. Of course, the concept of Water Factor did not exist then. It is what we would say now in retrospect. The other retrofit studies shown in Table 4 do not provide information about tub volume of pre-retrofit washers, but given that their pre-retrofit water use estimates are right in line with AHAM’s data, a Water Factor of 13.8 can perhaps be seen as the best estimate of baseline water-use efficiency.

What about the savings potential of high efficiency washers? All the retrofit studies shown in Table 4 demonstrate the existence of impressive levels of water savings potential. But, what should one do with these results? To correctly address this question, one also needs information about the Water Factor of the high efficiency washers that were used to replace the traditional top loaders. All the previously completed retrofit studies fail to provide this information except, to some extent, THELMA. Here we try to fill this information gap retrospectively as best as possible.

THELMA is the only study that states the tub volume of high-efficiency washers that were used to replace the traditional top loaders: Two types of high-efficiency washers were evaluated. The majority had a tub volume of 2.6 cubic feet and used 26.2 gallons per cycle (shown in Table 4); the other type had a tub volume of 1.4 cubic feet and used 13.4 gallons per cycle (not shown since these are not comparable in terms of tub volume to the replaced top loaders), implying Water Factors around 10.1 and 9.6, respectively. Although these are realized, not rated, Water Factors, they provide an idea about the water-use efficiency of what were called high efficiency washers at the time.

The Bern study only evaluated one kind of high efficiency washer, the Maytag Neptune. Internet research suggests that these washers had a tub volume of 2.9 cubic feet.[9] This estimate is quite close to the tub volume of traditional top loaders, which is consistent with this study’s finding that laundry weight per load did not change much before and after the retrofit. The realized Water Factor of the high efficiency washers tested in Bern then works out to roughly 8.9.

The Seattle end-use retrofit study tested three high efficiency washers: (1) Maytag Neptune; (2) Frigidaire Gallery; and (3) Whirlpool Super Capacity Plus. We estimate the weighted average of their tub volumes to be approximately 2.8 cubic feet, which yields a realized Water Factor of 8.7 for these three high efficiency washers taken together. Loads per capita were comparable before and after the retrofit suggesting that tub capacity was also similar between the old top loaders that got removed and the newer high efficiency washers that took their place.

The SWEEP retrofit study only tested one kind of high efficiency washer, Frigidaire Gallery, with a tub volume of 2.65 cubic feet. Post retrofit use was found to be 25.2 gallons per cycle, which yields a realized Water Factor of roughly 9.5.

The EBMUD end-use retrofit study also tested three high-efficiency washers: (1) Frigidaire Gallery; (2) Fisher & Paykel Ecosmart; and (3) Whirlpool Super Capacity Plus. We estimate the weighted average of their tub volumes to be approximately 2.9 cubic feet, which yields a realized Water Factor of 9.4 for these three high efficiency washers taken together. Loads per capita were comparable before and after the retrofit suggesting that tub capacity was also similar between the old top loaders that got removed and the newer high efficiency washers that took their place.

The above-mentioned studies exhibit a high level of convergence in estimates of water use per cycle of traditional top loaders as well as of the newer crop of high efficiency washers that became available during the late 1990s and early 2000s. It would be tempting to take Table 4’s data, convert it into some kind of average percentage reduction estimate, and apply it across-the-board to an agency-wide retrofit program. But, for two reasons, this course of action is likely to lead one astray. First, we surmise that high efficiency washers tested in the above-mentioned studies were operating at Water Factors ranging between 8.7 and 9.5 (if one excludes THELMA, the earliest of these studies), whereas now we have washers with a (rated) Water Factor of 4 or less available in the market. Second, we don’t know how our realized Water Factors compare with laboratory-determined, or rated, Water Factors. Nonetheless, it is safe to say that if today a 1990s top loader were retrofitted with a CEE Tier 3 washer, savings would be much higher than what Table 4 suggests. There are some CEE Tier 3 washers available today with a Water Factor of 2.5. In theory, such a washer, assuming it had a tub capacity of 3 cubic feet, ought to require only 7.5 gallons for a normal load instead of roughly 25 gallons that many early studies identified as the water requirement of high efficiency washers.

The latest end-use retrofit study completed in Albuquerque where CEE Tier 3 washers were used to retrofit the existing inefficient washers found that clothes washer use was down to 19.4 gallons per load after the retrofit.[10] The study unfortunately fails to provide information about Water Factors of the CEE Tier 3 washers tested during the study to allow one to compare actual and theoretical use, but that is the kind of information that such end-use studies will have to generate in the future to allow planners to use their results prospectively.

Loads per Day

Several end-use studies cited in Table 4 provide estimates of clothes washing frequency. For example, the REUWS estimated that a single-family household washes 0.99 loads per day on average, which translates into roughly 361 loads per year. However, data from DOE and AHAM suggest that average tub volumes have steadily increased over time, causing wash load frequency to correspondingly drop somewhat. For developing the latest residential clothes washer standards, DOE assumed that newer washers will be used to launder 295 loads per household per year.[11][11] Changing tub volumes and washing frequency adds an extra layer of uncertainty to estimates of washer retrofit savings potential.

Predicting Savings Going Forward

To reliably predict savings from clothes washer retrofit programs, water agencies need to take several steps. They need to collect granular data on age and characteristics of the old removed washers, as well as granular data about characteristics of the high-efficiency washers that were swapped in their place. Assumptions would still be required about the Water Factors of the old inefficient washers, as well as about the real-world water usage of the new washers (which may deviate somewhat from their rated Water Factors), but at least with granular data one can hope to arrive at more realistic savings estimates than blindly relying on percentage reduction factors drawn from previous studies: The high efficiency clothes washer world is changing much too fast for that strategy to work.

Having said that, though, water use efficiency of clothes washers does appear to have increased in chunks of a third. The earliest crop of efficient clothes washers with a Water Factor of 9.5 used roughly a third less water than traditional top loaders with a Water Factor of 13.8. The latest EnergyStar endorsed washers with a Water Factor of 6 use roughly a third less water than the early generation high efficiency washers. The washers designed to the most stringent CEE Tier 3 standard with a Water Factor of 4 will once again reduce water use by a third compared to an EnergyStar endorsed washer. Perhaps, some of these patterns can be exploited to model remaining conservation potential in the absence of granular data.

Periodic analysis of washer market data that AHAM and the Federal government collect[12], utility sponsored household saturation surveys and end-use studies will also be required to pin down how the distribution of Water Factors is changing over time in the installed stock of clothes washers.

COSTS

While developing its amended standards for residential clothes washers, DOE collected extensive retail price data in 2009. These data show that price is positively related to energy efficiency, which translates into a higher price for front loaders since, on average, they are also more efficient than top loaders. Retail prices for top loaders were found to average $636 with a range of $319-$1,259. For front loaders, retail price averaged $1,041 with a range of $519-$2,449. Given the relationship between price and energy efficiency, it is possible to find many lower-end front loaders that are competitively priced relative to higher end top-loaders.[13] DOE’s analyses are supported by another study from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) based on Consumer Reports, which examines trends in clothes washer retail prices over time.[14] This second study shows that font loader prices have been dropping much faster over time as washer-manufacturers ramp up scale of front-loader production. Low-price point front loaders have already become very competitive with top-loaders.

WASHER LIFE

The Bern study and more recent data submitted by AHAM to DOE (Technical Support Document, 2012), cited earlier, suggest that a clothes washer’s average life is roughly 14 years. This is what California water suppliers have also generally assumed in their planning analyses. However, water agencies generally assume a constant risk of failure, which works out to roughly 7.1% per year (from an average assumed life of 14 years). A constant risk of failure implies that if one started with a stock of washers in a base year, by the first following year 7.1% would have failed, by the second following year, a total of 13.7% of the original stock would have failed, and so on. After 14 years, roughly 36% of the original stock would still be functioning, 64% would have failed. Data from the 2009 Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) and also from the Bern study suggest that washer annual failure rate is probably not constant over time, being low initially, peaking at mid-life, stabilizing afterwards. The RECS data suggest that saturation of high-efficiency clothes washers may be increasing faster than what our traditional turnover models predict.

What this means in practice is that natural turnover can be expected to raise clothes washer efficiency at a slightly faster rate than traditionally predicted by code-savings models. However, to not assume constant failure risk requires having data about the distribution of age in the installed stock of clothes washers, which most water suppliers do not have. We therefore suggest that water suppliers continue to model natural washer turnover as they have in the past, but just be aware that water demand of the clothes washer end use may drop somewhat faster than what their natural-turnover models predict.

THE CHALLENGE AHEAD

Reliable estimation of savings from clothes washer retrofit programs involves several challenges mainly because washers come in a variety of flavors. Appliance standards have changed significantly over time. The questions that remain unanswered and deserve a closer look include:

1. What is the distribution of Water Factors in the installed base of clothes washers? How is this changing over time as a result of natural turnover and active retrofit programs?
2. What are the impediments to collecting granular data about old washers removed and new washers installed in its place as a result of rebate and retrofit programs?
3. How does actual water use of a washer compare to what its Water Factor would predict?
4. How are other washer characteristics, such as tub volume changing over time, which might influence washing frequency?

It is important that future evaluations of HECW retrofit programs, or even end use studies, collect granular data about the Water Factors of old washers removed and new ones retrofitted in their place. Otherwise, comparing results across studies becomes difficult. The CUWCC may also consider coordinating with AHAM, including purchasing AHAM’s data on behalf of Council members, to improve our information about clothes washer shipments over time and saturation of HECWs in California.

Related Literature

Aquacraft, Inc., “Residential Indoor Water Conservation Study,” prepared for the East Bay Municipal Utilities District and the U.S. EPA, July 2003.

Aquacraft, Inc., “Seattle Home Water Conservation Study,” prepared for Seattle Public Utilities and the U.S. EPA, December 2000.

Aquacraft, Inc., “Tampa Water Department Residential Water Conservation Study,” January 2004, prepared for Tampa Water Department and the U.S. EPA.

California Energy Commission, “Update of Appliance Efficiency Regulations for Residential Clothes Washers,” Staff Report, publication # 400-03-021. Placed Online: September 19, 2003.

CEE (1995) Consortium for Energy Efficiency High Efficiency Clothes Washer Initiative, “Program Description” with Appendices, December.

Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE), “Residential Clothes Washer Initiative Fact Sheet,” URL: http://www.cee1.org/resid/seha/rwsh/rwsh-main.php3, downloaded July 2004.

Consumer Reports, “What Will Energy Efficiency Cost?” URL: www.consumerreports.org, August 2000.

CUWCC, “Projected Water Demand Reductions Derived From CEC Proposed Water Factor Standards,” statement filed by CUWCC, January 21, 2004. URL: http://www.cuwcc.org.

Epinions.com, “Front-Load Washer Prices,” URL: www.epinions.com, downloaded April 2004. Fryer, James, “THELMA Update,” Memorandum, Marin Metropolitan Water District, November 21, 1995.

HUD (1984) U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research, Building Technology Division, Survey of Water Fixture Use, Brown and Caldwell Consulting Engineers, March.

Mitchell, David (1998), “Ad Hoc H-Axis Committee Interim Savings Recommendations,” memo prepared for CUWCC, March.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (1998) “Bern Clothes Washer Study: Final Report,” prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy, March.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), “The Boston Washer Study,” prepared for the U.S.Department of Energy, URL: www.eere.energy.gov, January, 2003.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), “The Save Water and Energy Education Program: SWEEP: Water and Energy Savings Evaluation,” prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy, May 2001.

Pugh, C.A., and J.J. Tomlinson, "High-Efficiency Washing Machine Demonstration, Bern, Kansas," proceedings of Consev99, 1999.

THELMA (1995a) “THELMA The High Efficiency Laundry Metering & Marketing Analysis,” Executive Summary and Chapter 5.

THELMA (1995b) Diekmann, J. and W. Murphy, “Laboratory Testing of Clothes Washers,” prepared by Arthur D. Little, Inc. for the EPRI Customer Systems Group, Final Report, December.

THELMA (1997) “THELMA Impact Analysis,” EPRI Retail Market Tools and Services, prepared by SBW Consulting, Hagler Bailly Consulting, Dethman & Associates, and the National Center for Appropriate Technology, March.

U.S. EPA and Department of Energy, “Energy Star Qualified Clothes Washers,” URL: www.eere.energy.gov, downloaded July 2004.

Waterplan (1988) Synergic Resources Corporation, “Waterplan Benefit/Cost Analysis Software for Water Management Planning,” prepared for California Department of Water Resources, November.

File:2.3 High Efficiency Washing Machines-CSS-2005.pdf

Program Information

  • The California Urban Water Conservation Council has a Smart Rebate Program for participating water agencies.

Areas for Future Research

  • Please contribute areas for future research here...

Footnotes

  1. http://www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/appliance_standards/product.aspx/productid/39#historicalinformation
  2. Details about residential clothes washer standards and test procedures can be found at the Department of Energy’s website cited in earlier footnote.
  3. Commercial clothes washers are subject to slightly different energy and water efficiency standards. More details about commercial clothes washers can be found in the following report: Bamezai, A., Coin-Operated Clothes Washers in Laundromats and Multi-Family Buildings: Assessment of Water Conservation Potential, a report prepared for the California Urban Water Conservation Council, 2012.
  4. EPA Office of Air and Radiation, Climate Protection Partneships Division. National Awareness of ENERGY STAR for 2013: Analysis of 2013 CEE Household Survey. U.S. EPA, 2014
  5. Shel Feldman Management Consulting et al., The Residential Clothes Washer Initiative: A Case Study of the Contributions of a Collaborative Effort to Transform a Market, a report prepared for the Consortium for Energy Efficiency, 2001.
  6. The EnergyStar program has a useful appliance savings calculator for estimating retrofit savings (http://www.energystar.gov/certified-products/detail/clothes_washers)
  7. Electric Power Research Institute, The High Efficiency Laundry Metering and Marketing Analysis (THELMA), final report prepared by Hagler Bailly Consulting Inc. et al., 1997. Tomlinson, J.J. and D.T. Rizy, Bern Clothes Washer Study: Final Report, prepared by Oak Ridge National Laboratory for Department of Energy, 1998. Mayer, P. et al., Residential End Uses of Water, sponsored by AWWA Research Foundation, 1999. US Department of Energy, Final Rule Technical Support Document (TSD): Energy Efficiency Standards for Consumer Products: Clothes Washers, 2000. Mayer, P. et al., Seattle Home Water Conservation Study, a report prepared by Aquacraft, Inc.for Seattle Public Utilities and US Environmental Protection Agency, 2000. US Department of Energy, Save Water and Energy Education program (SWEEP), a report prepared by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, 2001. Mayer, P. et al., Residential Indoor Water Conservation Study, a report prepared by Aquacraft, Inc.for East Bay Municipal Utility District and US Environmental Protection Agency, 2003.
  8. End uses were once again logged in 2007 in a random sample of California’s single family homes. These show that as of 2007, clothes washer use had declined to 30.6 gallons per load. That this estimate is lower than what the REUWS found is not surprising because of natural washer turnover. But since this more recent assessment does not offer information about Water Factors of washers logged in 2007, comparing estimates of gallons/load from this study with those of previous studies becomes difficult. For further details please see: DeOreo, W.B. et al., California Single-Family Water Use Efficiency Study, a report prepared by Aquacraft, Inc., Stratus Consulting and The Pacific Institute for the California Department of Water Resources, 2011.
  9. We consulted DOE’s Compliance Certification Management System and California Energy Commission’s Historical Appliance Data Files to obtain tub volume information after first consulting the manufacturer’s own website to retrieve potential model numbers matching with model name.
  10. Aquacraft, Inc., Albuquerque Single Family Water Use Efficiency and Retrofit Study, a report prepared for Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority, 2011.
  11. Department of Energy, Technical Support Document: Energy Efficiency Program for Consumer Products and Commercial and Industrial Equipment: Residential Clothes Washers, 2012.
  12. For example, the 2009 Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) is a valuable source of information about changing saturation of EnergyStar washers in the US and its sub-regions.
  13. Department of Energy, Technical Support Document: Energy Efficiency Program for Consumer Products and Commercial and Industrial Equipment: Residential Clothes Washers, 2012.
  14. Mauer, J. et al., Better Appliances: An Analysis of Performance, Features, and Price as Efficiency Has improved, American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, Report Number A132, 2013.

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Has end use subjectClothes washer +
Has general subjectBenefits and costs +
Has introductionWater suppliers that have signed the Counc
Water suppliers that have signed the Council’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) must either provide incentives or institute ordinances that require the purchase of high-efficiency clothes washers meeting an average Water Factor of 5.0. If WaterSense adopts a lower Water Factor standard in the future, MOU signatories must comply with this lower standard. This is how the clothes washer Best Management Practice (BMP) is described in the MOU.


Several end-use studies in single-family settings have shown that clothes washing accounts for indoor water demand that is second only to toilets. Therefore, improving clothes washer efficiency has been a prominent goal among water suppliers interested in promoting conservation. Water suppliers have adopted a two-pronged approach for achieving this goal. They have advocated for mandatory water-use efficiency appliance standards; and they have implemented rebate programs to incentivize the retrofit of old inefficient washers.
e the retrofit of old inefficient washers. +