Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Fred Strohl (strohlhf@ornl.gov)
Communications and External Relations


Audio Spot: Washing machine energy standards increased with ORNL assistance

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., April 21, 2005 — New Department of Energy efficiency standards for clothes washers can cut consumer energy bills by nearly $53 million annually.

The Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory had a major role in bringing those changes about.

ORNL researcher John Tomlinson said lab research in recent years has made washing machines 30 percent more energy efficient.

"DOE through Oak Ridge National Laboratory had a big role in bringing the interest in efficient washing machines to the forefront," Tomlinson said. "It is gratifying to see the market for energy efficient washers has grown from a miniscule 1 percent to 30 percent today."

Tomlinson said that research has helped the entire industry meet the higher standards for energy efficiency.

"Any time in a standard-setting process when DOE looks to see whether ramping up the standards is appropriate, they always look to see the impact on manufacturers," Tomlinson said. "If there is only one manufacturer making an energy efficient product, they're not nearly as willing to ramp up the standards as they are when the entire industry has energy efficient appliances and products."

ORNL's work on washing machines was funded by DOE's Emerging Technology Program.

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy.