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Need a New Room Air Conditioner? Check Out These Tips Before You Buy!

As the summer heat bakes much of the U.S., you might find yourself in need of replacing that old (and probably less efficient) room air conditioner. Before going out to the local home improvement store, you should check out the directory of AHAM Verifide® room air conditioners.  Room air conditioners carrying the AHAM Verifide mark have been independently-tested to perform to manufacturer’s claims for cooling capacity (measured in BTUs per hour), Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) and electrical energy in Amps. Additionally, for units carrying the ENERGY STAR designation, AHAM’s energy verification of the unit ensures that the product meets ENERGY STAR criteria.

ENERGY STAR’s website has some great tips for purchasing room air conditioners:
•    Consider a unit with controls. Controls such as a digital readout for the thermostat setting, and a built-in timer help you adjust your unit to use less energy.
•    Check the yellow EnergyGuide label. This label helps you determine how much energy it takes to operate the model, compare the energy use of similar models, and estimate annual operating costs
•    Look for a unit whose filter slides out easily for regular cleaning. Clean filters help keep your unit in good working condition.
•    Select the unit with the highest Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) for greater savings. The EER is the cooling capacity in BTUs divided by the watts.

And when you do buy that new room air conditioner, here are some tips courtesy of the U.S. Dept. of Energy to keep it running smoothly for years to come:
•    The most important maintenance task that will ensure the efficiency of your air conditioner is to routinely replace or clean its filters.
•    Clogged, dirty filters block normal airflow and reduce a system’s efficiency significantly. Replacing a dirty, clogged filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5% to 15%.
•    Outdoor condenser coils can also become very dirty if the outdoor environment is dusty or if there is foliage nearby. You can easily see the condenser coil and notice if dirt is collecting on its fins.
•    At the start of each cooling season, inspect the seal between the air conditioner and the window frame to ensure it makes contact with the unit’s metal case. Moisture can damage this seal, allowing cool air to escape from your house.
•    In the winter, either cover your room air conditioner or remove and store it. Covering the outdoor unit of a central air conditioner will protect the unit from winter weather and debris.

Rewarding Refrigerator Recycling in Utah


Do you know that on average, approximately 90 percent of major household appliances (by weight) are recycled each year?

Additionally, according to the Steel Recycling Institute (SRI), the typical appliance contains 60 percent steel which can be recycled rather than being sent to a landfill.  Recycling has even more environmental benefits, too.   According to SRI, in a year, the steel industry saves the equivalent energy to electrically power about 18 million households for that same amount of time.  Rocky Mountain Power (RMP) and Utah Food Bank have joined forces to combine recycling, energy efficiency and meals for the hungry, according to a recent article in the Deseret News.  For over a decade RMP has been offering its customers $30 if they recycle their old, inefficient refrigerators.  Now RMP customers will have the option to automatically donate that $30 to Utah Food Bank, which distributes meals to food pantries, churches and soup kitchens throughout Utah.   Since the program was implemented in 2003, over 10,000 refrigerators have been recycled in Utah – saving the utility’s customers $150 annually on average, according to RMP.  Thanks to the program, Utah Food Bank estimates it helps provide 2,000 meals a week to families in need!

While your local utility may not offer a program exactly like RMP’s, you can still help the environment by purchasing a new refrigerator and reducing your electricity usage.  According to AHAM’s 2013 Trends in Energy Efficiency, on average, a refrigerator manufactured in 2013 consumes 52% less electricity than one manufactured in 1991 – and it’s 6% larger, too!

If you’re interested in cutting your energy bill by purchasing a new refrigerator, visit www.coolsavings.com to learn more about the latest energy efficiency guidelines for refrigerators, and how to use the updated yellow ENERGY GUIDE labels.  Meanwhile, SRI’s website can help you find the recycling location nearest you.

Beat the Heat with a New AHAM Verifide Room Air Conditioner

It’s that time of the year when many consumers find themselves in the market for a new room air conditioner.  Upon walking into a store to purchase one, one of the first things a consumer may notice is the AHAM Verifide label on the product’s box.  Room air conditioners carrying the AHAM Verifide mark have been tested by an independent laboratory to verify that the unit will perform according to manufacturers’ claims for cooling capacity in British Thermal Units (BTUs), Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) and electrical energy in Amps.  Additionally, those models carrying the ENERGY STAR logo have been rated as being 10 percent more efficient than non-ENERGY STAR-qualified room air conditioners.

Ralph Hudnall, AHAM’s Director of Product Certification and Verification, explains that the independent laboratory’s testing conducted on room air conditions are designed to be as close to the consumer’s use as possible, and each model tested undergoes the exact same test to ensure uniformity.

Ralph explains, “At the lab, there are two adjoining rooms with one room configured as though it’s outdoors (hotter) and the inside room is the room that is to be cooled. Various sensors are set up to make sure the environmental conditions are correct and each unit is operated for 24 hours.?? Upon completion of the tests, the results are verified against the manufacturer’s claim and, if approved, the unit is given the AHAM Verifide seal.

More information about selecting an AHAM Verifide room air conditioner can be found here, and additional information about ENERGY STAR can be found here. This Old House’s website has some tips for choosing the right room air conditioner.

Energy Department and AHAM Join Forces on ENERGY STAR Testing for Appliances


The U.S.
Department of Energy
(DOE) announced today in
a blog posting
that it recognizes AHAM
certification body for clothes washers, dishwashers, refrigerators,
refrigerator/freezers and freezers.

EPA states: “This agreement is a
reflection of DOE's and AHAM's extensive and long-standing collaborative work
together on verification and represent the kind of creative, public-private
partnership that benefits industry, consumers, and government alike.??

Prior to the agreement, AHAM and
EPA conducted separate appliance verification programs.  Working together, AHAM and DOE can conserve
taxpayer dollars and eliminate duplicative testing.  Consumers can purchase AHAM Verifide appliances knowing that the federal
testing procedures for measuring an appliance’s energy consumption are trusted
and were developed by the U.S. Department of Energy.

EPA also stated in their post:

“As an EPA-approved certification body, AHAM
will administer verification testing for the  ENERGY
STAR program, which includes verifying data and reporting on specifications.
AHAM will continue to follow a
series of stringent testing requirements, holding appliances that are potentially eligible for ENERGY STAR
certification to the highest of standards, helping to ensure that these appliances deliver
significant savings for energy efficiency and quality performance. In addition, AHAM will identify instances of
potential noncompliance with ENERGY STAR requirements
and federal energy conservation standards. AHAM will notify relevant government stakeholders, including
the Energy Department, if an appliance is noncompliant with any program requirement, so that the
appropriate agency can rectify any issues with compliance."

to read the rest of the blog post.   Last year, more than 15 million appliances
were shipped with the AHAM Verifide mark.   
To search for appliances that have earned the mark, click here.

AHAM President Joe McGuire Discusses New Clothes Washer Sustainability Standard

JoewebIn a July column in Appliance Design magazine, AHAM
President Joe McGuire highlights the first-ever sustainability standard for
clothes washers developed jointly by AHAM, CSA Group and Underwriters

McGuire writes, “The goal of this
standard is to provide meaningful environmental performance information to
manufacturers, governments, retailers, and consumers about clothes washers and
to drive innovation and continual improvement in the sustainability of these
products.??  This standard follows last
year’s release of the first-ever sustainability
standard for refrigeration products

 “The standard is intended to be used to
evaluate products for six key attributes: materials, manufacturing and
operations, energy and water consumption during use, consumables, end of life,
and innovation, as a bonus attribute,?? notes McGuire.  The new standards can be especially helpful to
consumers who wish to have additional information when purchasing more
environmentally-friendly products.  For
example, the end-of-life category, consumers can evaluate clothes washers based
upon the amount of recyclable materials they contain.

to read more of McGuire’s column. If your company is a supplier to the
appliance industry and you wish to purchase either the standard for
refrigeration products or clothes washers, you may do so here.

Staying Ahead of the Curve with Sustainability

JoewebIn the November issue of Appliance
Design Magazine
, AHAM President Joe McGuire pens a column titled, “Ahead
of the Curve: Sustainability Standard,?? highlighting the first sustainability
standard for refrigeration products (7001/CSA
SPE 7001/UL 7001-2012
) that AHAM and its partners, CSA Standards and UL
released in June.

McGuire notes, “The standards are credible and compatible
with government and retailer initiatives. In fact, in September AHAM presented
its Sustainability program to many leading industry retailers at the Retail Industry Leaders
Association (RILA)
sustainability conference. The reaction was very
positive and our work is respected; but it is also clear that AHAM is ahead of
the curve with these standards.??

Additionally, he states that AHAM will expand its
sustainability program: “Working with testing agencies as partners, AHAM will
extend its sustainability brand to the marketplace. AHAM’s program will support
companies who wish to have third-party certification to the AHAM/UL/CSA
standards. The common rating scale will ensure all appliances certified under the
AHAM program are rated uniformly and to the same scale and will offer levels of
achievement for those that wish to tout their product’s environmental profile.??

to read the full column.

AHAM Releases New Refrigerator Sustainability Standard

Appliance manufacturers can now take advantage of a new Sustainability standard that can be used to evaluate the environmental impact of refrigerators.  Manufacturers can evaluate their products on a scale offering points for using recycled materials and using blowing agents which have a low contribution to greenhouse gases.

It’s the first sustainability standard for refrigerators and is a giant step forward in ensuring that refrigerators are manufactured with regard for how the product will impact the environment during the manufacturing process, while in use by the owner and when it reaches the end of its lifecycle. The standard identifies the environmental impact that refrigeration products have in five key areas:

  • Energy
  • Materials
  • End-of-life
  • Performance
  • Manufacturing

Wayne Morris, AHAM’s Vice President of Technical Operations and Standards, recently spoke with Plastics News about how the new standard and the role of plastics play.

 Click here to read the article.

First Sustainability Standard for Household Refrigeration Appliances Developed to Identify Environmentally Responsible Products

WASHINGTON, DC (June 7, 2012) – The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), CSA Group, and UL Environment today announced the release of AHAM 7001-2012/CSA SPE-7001-12/UL 7001, Sustainability Standard for Household Refrigeration Appliances, the first voluntary sustainability standard for home appliances. This new standard is the first in a family of product sustainability standards under development by AHAM, CSA Group, and UL Environment intended for use by manufacturers, governments, retailers, and others to identify environmentally preferable products. The standard is based on a lifecycle approach for identifying the environmental impacts of refrigeration products in five key areas: energy, materials, end-of-life, performance, and manufacturing.

Click here to read the full release.

All About Induction Cooking

AHAM has told you about the Five appliance that can help you save money, but did you know there is a type of cooking technology that can save you time, money and piece of mind?  Induction cooking is relatively new and unknown, but induction cooktops are gaining popularity among kitchen designers. 

Induction cooking works by transferring heat directly to your pot or pan through an electric current.  The cooktop will only heat your pan when it is in direct contact with the surface.  For a complete explanation of how this cooktop works, read this helpful article in Kitchen and Bath Business: Understanding Induction

So how can an induction cooktop save you time, money and piece of mind?

  • Induction allows you to cook your meal faster.  You will have more control over the heat, with the ability to adjust the temperature with more accuracy and bring water to a rapid boil in less than two minutes.  Clean up could not be easier with the flat, ceramic glass cooktop.  You can wipe it clean in seconds, and since it does not get hot, even spills and splatters are easy to clean.
  • The direct-to-vessel heating used in induction cooktops does not waste heat.  This makes this technology more sustainable than others, and you will save on your utility bills.
  • Finally, since the cooking heat stays contained to the pan, the surface of the cooktop will always remain cool.  Watch the video below from HGTV to see that you can lay your hand on the cooktop next to your pan with no worries!  Your kitchen will stay cooler and you will not need to be concerned about burns from touching the surface directly.


AHAM Presenting Sustainability and Smart Appliance Papers at EEDAL

AHAM is participating in the 6th International Conference on Energy Efficiency in Domestic Appliances and Lighting (EEDAL) being held in Copenhagen from May 24-26.  Kevin Messner, AHAM’s vice president, government relations, is traveling to the conference next week to present papers on sustainability and smart appliances.

This year, the focus of EEDAL is on technologies that will make household energy consumption more efficient.  Government representatives and industry experts from around the globe will gather to share their knowledge and experience on energy efficiency, energy supply, climate change, smart meters and appliances, among other topics. 

Attendees can hear Kevin Messner present Sustainability – Measuring Environmental Impacts, written by Wayne Morris, AHAM vice president of division services, and Kevin Messner, on Tuesday, May 24.  Smart Appliances: The Future of Appliance Energy Efficiency, written by Kevin Messner and Chellury (Ram) Sastry of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, will be presented by Kevin on Wednesday, May 25.