After announcing its intent last spring to begin certifying clothes dryers, the Environmental Protection Agency has announced that Energy Star-certified clothes dryers are now available from retailers nationwide. The roll-out includes 45 models from Kenmore, LG, Maytag, Safemate, and Whirlpool. Dryers must be tested by a third-party to show at least 20% more energy efficiency than standard models. Those currently certified are also available at comparable prices to standard dryers, EPA says.
Dryers are one of the most common household appliances and the biggest energy users,” said U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “EPA’s Energy Star certified clothes dryers offer Americans an opportunity to save energy and do their part to combat climate change. By working with industry, we are bringing innovative technology to market that’s good for the planet.” According to data from EPA, dryers hog more energy than other home appliances, including refrigerators, clothes washers, and dishwashers. Their energy efficiency hasn't improved over the years, even while its washing machine partners have reduced energy use by 70% since 1990.
Electric, gas, and compact models are all available with Energy Star labels. To reduce energy usage, manufacturers are equipping dryers with sensors that stop the dryer when they identify that clothes are dry. Whirlpool and LG have also recently introduced heat pump clothes dryers that recirculate excess heat to dry clothes more efficiently. Both brands showcased their new heat pump models at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show.
This new Energy Star specification also establishes optional “connected” criteria for residential clothes dryers. Dryers with connected functionality will offer consumers convenience and energy-savings features, such as an alert indicating there is a performance issue or feedback to consumers on the energy-efficiency of different cycle selections. These products will also be “smart grid” ready, meaning they will give consumers the option to connect a dryer to their local utility to save money on their energy bills where those services are offered, and also facilitate broader electric power system efficiency.
EPA says if all residential clothes dryers sold in the U.S. were Energy Star certified, Americans could save $1.5 billion annually in utility costs, and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equal to the electricity use from more than 1.3 million homes.