Covered Product Category: Clothes Washers
FEMP provides acquisition guidance across a variety of product categories, including clothes washers, which are an ENERGY STAR®-qualified product category. Federal laws and executive orders mandate that agencies meet these efficiency requirements in all procurement and acquisition actions that are not specifically exempted by law.
Most manufacturers display the ENERGY STAR label on complying models. For a model not displaying this label, check the manufacturer's literature to determine if it meets the efficiency requirements outlined by ENERGY STAR.
This product category overview covers the following:
- Performance Requirements for Federal Purchases
- Buying Energy-Efficient Clothes Washers
- Buyer Tips
- User Tips
- Estimating Energy and Cost Savings
- For More Information
Performance Requirements for Federal Purchases
For the most up-to-date efficiency levels required by ENERGY STAR, look for the ENERGY STAR label or visit the ENERGY STAR Product Specifications website. For more information, contact the FEMP point of contact listed at the bottom of this page.
Buying Energy-Efficient Clothes Washers
ENERGY STAR's Product Specification applies to standard size (capacity of 1.6 cubic feet or greater), front- and top-loading, residential clothes washers. Compact clothes washers and large commercial grade products are excluded. When purchasing clothes washers, specify or select products that are ENERGY STAR qualified. The ENERGY STAR program requirements for clothes washers changed on January 1, 2011, to an MEF of 2.0 or greater and a WF of 6.0 or less. The Federal supply source for clothes washers is the General Services Administration (GSA), which sells them through its Multiple Awards Schedules program and online shopping network, GSA Advantage!
These requirements apply to all forms of procurement, including guide and project specifications; construction, renovation, repair, energy service, operation and maintenance (O&M) contracts; lease agreements; and solicitations for offers. Energy performance requirements should be included in all evaluations of solicitation responses. Buyers shall insert the standard clause from FAR section 52.223-15 into contracts and solicitations that deliver, acquire, furnish, or specify energy-consuming products for use in Federal facilities. Agencies can claim an exception to these requirements through a written finding that no ENERGY STAR-qualified or FEMP-designated product is life-cycle cost effective for a specific application.
When buying clothes washers, use the MEF in addition to the annual energy consumption (kWh/year) shown on the yellow EnergyGuide label. While both measures include the energy used by the washer and water heater, MEF adds energy used by the dryer. MEF is the number of cubic feet of clothes washed and dried per kWh of electricity used. MEF is a more accurate indicator of performance since some clothes washers are more effective at spinning moisture from clothing, resulting in less time and energy needed for drying. MEF is calculated by dividing the tub capacity by the total energy used per wash load (10 CFR 430, sub part B, Appendix J). Buyers should also look for products with low WF, a performance metric for comparing clothes washer water consumption independent of capacity. WF is the total water used per cycle divided by the machine's capacity (in cubic feet). A lower value indicates a more efficient washer. A list of qualified products, showing both MEF and WF for each clothes washer, is available from the ENERGY STAR website.
Heavy duty clothes washers, such as those used in laundromats, are similar to residential products in size, performance, features, and connections. These products have sturdier frames and mechanical components, a modified control panel with fewer control settings, and feature a coin box, debit card reader, or other revenue collecting device. ENERGY STAR's Product Specifications apply to these heavy duty clothes washers when used in Federal facilities.
A substantial amount of the energy used for clothes washing is for heating the water. Encourage users to select cold water wash cycles to save energy and use appropriate load-size settings to save both water and energy. ENERGY STAR-qualified clothes washers use less water than standard models while cleaning just as well.
Estimating Energy and Cost Savings
ENERGY STAR has an Excel-based cost calculator for clothes washers. To modify the utility price, click on "Savings Calculator—Clothes Washers," select the water heater type from the pull-down menu, and then input the number of loads per week plus the rates for electricity, natural gas, and water. The output section will automatically display results that better reflect your conditions.
For More Information
Federal supply sources are the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). GSA sells products through its Multiple Awards Schedules and GSA Advantage! DLA offers products through the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia and DOD EMALL.
The following resources are available for additional information:
Federal Energy Management Program
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory provided supporting analysis for this acquisition guidance.