GLOBE Foundation

Tackling the commercial energy hogs

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Source: GLOBE Foundation

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced new Energy Star requirements for a range of products used to store or display the products we buy and use everyday.

These new rules will cover commercial refrigerators and freezers, which, on average, will be 33 percent more energy efficient than standard models, and computer monitors, digital picture frames and other commercial displays that on average will be 20 percent more energy efficient than conventional options. 

If all commercial refrigerators and freezers sold in the United States meet the new Energy Star specification, the energy savings would grow to $275 million per year and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those generated by nearly 400,000 vehicles.

Under the new scope of products covered by the Energy Star commercial refrigerators and freezers specification are glass door refrigerators and freezers - typically found in convenience stores, supermarkets and restaurants.  Glass door models, as of April 1, 2009 can begin to qualify for Energy Star label. Purchasers of commercial glass door refrigerators and freezers can expect to save up to $800 per refrigerator and $2,500 per freezer over the expected 10-year life of the product.

Digital picture frames offer an impressive opportunity for energy savings. It is estimated that 9.3 million digital picture frames were shipped in 2008 and by 2015 the number could more than double. If all displays sold in the United States meet this new specification, the energy savings would grow to about $1 billion each year and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from nearly 1.5 million vehicles. 

Savings from digital picture frames represent about 10 percent of the total potential savings in this product area. Large displays are typically used in public and private settings such as restaurants, bars, hotels, clubs, museums, and educational settings, and outdoor environments in retail or transportation signage. Savings from large displays represent about 70 percent of the total potential savings in this product area. 

To earn the label, the new specification includes a revision of existing requirements for computer monitors to a more stringent level, the fifth revision since products in this category have been eligible for the Energy Star label. EPA has also expanded the range of display products eligible for the label. In addition to computer monitors, digital picture frames and large commercial displays (up to 60 inches diagonal) can now qualify for the label when demonstrated to meet the energy efficiency requirements. 

The requirements for commercial refrigerators and freezers become effective January 1, 2010, the same date that new federal standards take effect. This revised specification will provide consumers with a choice to continue to go beyond the federal standards with Energy Star, delivering energy efficient products with the performance they expect.

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