Manufacturing Savvy

Even Smart Appliances Need Some Encouragement

If the U.S. hopes to fulfill the Smart Grid Vision appliance manufacturers need some incentives.

That was the testimony of AHAM President Joseph M. McGuire when he presented his association's views on March 10 before the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee.

Discussing Senate Bill 3059, the National Energy Efficiency Enhancement Act of 2010, he argued that manufacturers should receive incentives "to make Smart Appliances while the transmission and distribution system is modernized."

"The potential gains in this area are great, including increased use of renewable energy, fewer peaker plants and resultant emissions and less line losses in the transmission of electricity," McGuire added.

McGuire can point to a strong success record by appliance manufacturers in reducing energy consumption. In the last 8 years, manufacturers have reduced energy consumption of home appliances by nearly 8 billion kWh, McGuire said.

Refrigerators/freezers, dishwashers and clothes washers account for a 43% combined decrease in energy consumption since 2000. "From a global climate change perspective, the energy savings realized in 2008 shipments of refrigerators, dishwashers and clothes washers versus 2000 models would offset the CO2 emissions of more than 698 million gallons of gasoline consumed," McGuire testified.

Clothes washer energy consumption has decreased by 63% since 2000 while tub capacity has grown by 8%. Dishwasher energy consumption has dropped nearly 30% and water consumption has declined 29% since 2000. Refrigerator energy consumption has also decreased 30% since 2000 and efficiency, measured by a unit's energy factor has increased 39%. The average refrigerator sold today consumes less energy than a 60-watt light bulb left on 24 hours a day.

"Two very important incentives that Congress should embrace are the Best-in-Class Appliance Deployment program and credits for meeting new appliance efficiency standards for smart grid capable appliances," explained McGuire.

"S. 3059 authorizes the Secretary of Energy to provide credits to manufacturers on meeting new appliance efficiency standards for products that are smart grid capable. In other words, the Secretary can encourage manufacturers to produce smart appliances by adjusting the stringency of a new appliance standard. The trade off in added appliance efficiency would be equaled or outweighed by the load shifting and grid efficiencies that would result from consumer use of such appliances. These incentives would provide the necessary financial and regulatory incentives to encourage deployment of smart and efficient appliances nationwide and provide a great impetus to the development of the Smart Grid."

AHAM represents manufacturers of major, portable and floor care home appliances, and suppliers to the industry, which produces more than 95% of the household appliances shipped for sale within the U.S. The factory shipment value of these products is more than $30 billion annually.

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