New Energy Star requirements for dishwashers and furnaces will go into effect early next year, the EPA announced last week.

Effective Jan. 20, 2012, Energy Star will require both standard-sized and compact residential dishwashers to be between 10% and 30% more energy efficient than conventional models, and about 8% more efficient than current Energy Star models, to qualify.

In addition, beginning Feb. 1, 2012, contractors and consumers will be able to identify Energy Star-qualified furnaces appropriate for particular climate zones:
--The furnaces that meet the new requirements for the southern half of the country will be labeled with a specific U.S. South Energy Star mark and will be up to 12% more energy efficient than baseline units.
--Qualified furnaces in the northern half of the U.S. and Canada will bear the standard Energy Star logo and will be up to 16% more energy efficient than baseline models.

The new requirements for residential dishwashers and furnaces are among 20 revisions to product requirements expected to be completed this year.