Biden’s New Washing Machine Requirements Could Impact Millions

Biden's New Washing Machine Requirements Could Impact Millions

( – The Biden administration is pushing for new energy efficiency standards for washing machines. The goal is to save the planet — but is this the right way to go about it? The new machines might use less water and energy, but that doesn’t help much if you need to wash things twice to get them clean.

On February 10, the Department of Energy (DOE) issued new proposed energy efficiency standards for washers and dryers. According to the DOE, if these rules become law, they’ll “lower household energy costs and significantly reduce pollution.” The department estimates Americans could save up to $3.5 billion a year by using less water and energy to do their laundry. The new rules could be in place by 2027.

Not everyone is happy about them, though. Manufacturers say they’re too strict, and complying with them will make washers less effective. Travis Fisher, a researcher with the Heritage Foundation, says restricting how much energy and water a washer can use will “either make the appliance worse or slower.” He asked why the administration is focusing on how much energy the machines use “as opposed to if it’s helping me wash my clothes” and said the proposed rules have “kind of gone off the rails.”

Manufacturers also say the rules would hit the poorest Americans hard. Washers and dryers that comply with them will cost more to make, so cheaper machines will disappear from the market. And, as well as being more expensive to buy, the new washers could even end up being more expensive to run.

The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) says washers are already running at peak efficiency; making them use less power just means wash cycles will need to be longer, so the total energy use won’t change — and clothes could still end up being less clean.

Under federal law, the DOE has to review energy efficiency standards every six years. The AHAM is now calling for that to end, saying it’s “unlikely” tighter standards will save much energy. Unfortunately, legislating for more energy-efficient appliances is a cheap way for politicians to show off their green credentials, so AHAM is facing an uphill struggle.

Copyright 2023,