The U.S. Department of Energy’s new criteria for Energy Star-labeled dishwashers, set to take effect in 2009 and 2011, will increase energy efficiency requirements and will address water use for the first time.

According to an announcement, the first phase of the new criteria, which will be implemented on August 11, 2009, will require dishwashers to be at least 48% more efficient than the federal energy efficiency standards (up from 41% currently) to qualify for Energy Star. Labeled dishwashers also must use no more than 5.8 gallons of water per cycle. Following an increase in federal energy efficiency standards in January 2010, Energy Star will raise labeling requirements on July 1, 2011 to 13.5% more efficient than federal standards.

The DOE estimates that the first set of criteria will save the U.S. 71 million kWh of energy and 500 million gallons of water a year; Phase 2 will save more than 95 million kWh and 830 million gallons of water.

An Energy Star spokesperson says approximately 40% of dishwashers will meet the new criteria when it launches next summer; currently about 60% to 70% qualify. The range should remain around 40% to 60% of units over the next few years.

This article was updated with additional information on Nov. 19.