In 1937, a group of engineers invented Bendix Appliances when they were greener more envious than the environment, the first automatic frontloading of laundry maize. Unlike todays top loading pool and pivot discs, the new Bendix used significantly less water and utilized a fast-water-centrifuging cycle.
The success of the new concept tray ranged Bendix Appliances to the top of the device; peaked in 1950 when Bendix ordered an industry-leading $ 12 million in sales. However, the success of Bendix was short-lived.
Soon other device manufacturers introduced cheaper top loaders that were less efficient and offered a lower price tag. With modern aqueducts that bring large amounts of water to the west and powerful new tumble dryers are found in most new homes, water use and drying time are no longer significant purchase decisions.
The United States paid a price eco-friendly when it left the washing machine for frontloading in the 1960s. While manufacturers of European appliances worked to improve the efficiency of horizontal tiles, the American housing laundry market was dominated by top loaders for over three decades.
New ENERGY STAR washing machines initiative in the 1990s finally changed the apparatus industry. Through partnerships with manufacturers and financial incentives for research and development, ENERGY STAR, could convince large device makers to reformat, retool and finally manufacture a new generation of frontloaders. But not all ENERGY STAR initiatives have been so successful.
From the outset, the ENERGY STAR device allows self-testing, reporting and regulation, with predictably poor results. For example, separate efficiency standards for different refrigerator configurations have enabled manufacturers to produce side by side models that are significantly less effective than the similar size of bottom mounted freezer models. In addition, large 36-inch professional refrigerators have received ENERGY STAR approval, although they consume an average amount of 600 kWh annually.
Cheating has also been a problem. In September 2008, a Consumer Reports test showed that the energy consumption of the LG French door refrigerator was 100% higher than noted on the government-labeled DOE yellow stickers that followed the product. LG apologized for the accident, paid a fine to DOE and refunded consumers who bought the product. And even though the fridge was not ENERGY STAR rated, it still shows that some manufacturers can not rely on testing and publishing accurate performance data.
Separately, consumer reports found that energy efficiency data reported on many refrigerators did not cover the use of door and water dispensers. Assuming that most consumers use this feature, Consumer Reports made efficiency testing with continuous systems in operation. The tests showed that the refrigerator models used hundreds of kilowatt electricity per year than reported on the yellow energy label. Consumer reports conclude, if the coolers are used as intended, the owners will not save as much electricity as they had to lead to when they bought the appliance.
With the exception of washing machines, ENERGY STAR has failed to systematically change efficiency standards in the appliance industry. ENERGY STARs decision to provide efficiency standard development and testing to manufacturers is equivalent to the fact that the upper secondary schools will allocate their own homework and grade their own examinations. The results have been predictable under expectations.
If efficiency is to be achieved, ENERGY STAR must set its own high standards and challenges for device production to rise above the bar. In addition, monitoring must be performed by third party laboratories that do not have an interest in fudging results to meet a desired standard. There are many test facilities that are equipped to test devices, including secure certification companies such as UL and ETL.
There are new advances that can significantly reduce energy consumption, including advanced insulation for refrigerators and ovens, and more efficient heating elements for cooking appliances and tumble dryers. The technology exists, but only ENERGY STAR has the power to operate it on the market.