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Express: “There’s a Zap for That”

Don't underestimate the potential of your microwave!  A recent story in The Washington Post's Express Night Out newspaper explains the wide variety of meals that can be cooked in a microwave beyond a frozen "TV dinner." 

A modern microwave oven can be used to make dishes from steamed vegetables to fish to cake.  Recipes found in microwave cookbooks may surprise those who only use their MWO for nuking leftover pizza.  Check out the recipe for "Warm Autumn Compote" featured at the bottom of the article.

Assessment of Communication Standards for Smart Appliances Published Today

The home appliance industry has conducted a technical evaluation of communication protocols for smart appliances and AHAM released the findings this morning during a GridWeek 2010 panel presnetation.  This latest report, Assessment of Communication Standards for Smart Appliances, is a follow-up to AHAM's white paper, which was released in December.  This assessment  was developed to address the four communication parameters outlined in the white paper, and will assist manufacturers in helping consumers to take advantage of new smart grid enabled appliances.

To read more about AHAM's efforts toward successful deployment of smart appliances, visit www.aham.org/smartgrid.



AHAM Announces Partnership with CSA Standards and UL Environment to Develop Sustainability Standard for Home Appliances

AHAM is announcing its partnership with two leading standards organizations, CSA Standards and UL Environment, to develop sustainability standards for home appliances.  The purpose of this project is to provide an objective and practical
measurement tool to assist the public in evaluating the sustainability
of home appliances.  By creating a scientific foundation for evaluating sustainability, consumers will be able to make more informed purchasing decisions.  AHAM hopes that this metric will further consumer confidence in these products.

Five Winds International, an internationally recognized sustainability consulting firm, has been selected as a project manager for this initiative. 

You can read the official announcement of this partnership on the AHAM website.



Industry and Advocacy Groups Agree on New Efficiency Standards for Home Appliances

Home appliance manufacturers and energy efficiency advocates announced a major agreement offering major efficiency advancements for
refrigerators, freezers, clothes washers, clothes dryers, dishwashers and room
air conditioners.  The deal could save consumers BILLIONS of dollars
on energy bills and reduce global warming emissions for decades to come!

The major energy-saving deal was announced today by AHAM, American
Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
(ACEEE) and a nationwide
coalition of energy and water efficiency supporters  who have called for
new national minimum efficiency standards, production tax credits for
super-efficient appliances and inclusion of “smart grid?? readiness as a feature
of future ENERGY STAR qualified appliances.

Based on Department of Energy (DOE) analysis, the recommended standards and tax credits will save more than 9 quads of energy over 30 years, or roughly enough to meet the total energy needs of 40 percent of American homes for one year.  The recommended water efficiency standards and tax credits for clothes washers and dishwashers will save about 5 trillion gallons over 30 years.  Global warming CO2 will be reduced by 550 million metric tons over the same time period, without considering the emissions reductions from smart appliances.  These reductions are equivalent to taking 100 million of today’s typical cars off the road for a year.

The official announcement along with more details of the agreement, including the proposed new minimum efficiency standards, is available on the AHAM website.

For some additional reading: NRDC blogger Lane Burt discussed the potential impact this agreement could have on appliance energy savings today on NRDC's Switchboard – read it hereThe Environmental Leader and Climate Wire also covered the news.

Michigan Utility Wants Residents to Recycle

One utility company in Michigan has come up with a creative incentive to urge people to recycle their old refrigerators and purchase new, more energy efficient models.  ComEd has turned the old refrigerators into an art exhibit, which is on display on Michigan's Magnificent Mile. 

According to an article in the Chicago Sun-Times, "The utility company is urging people to stop using refrigerators built
before 1993, to replace them with newer, more energy-efficient models.
As an incentive, ComEd will pick up and haul off working old
refrigerators for free — and write you a $25 check."

The Sun-Times also has a gallery of all of ComEd's decorated refrigerators.  Which one is your favorite?

AHAM Welcomes New Staff Members

AHAM has added two new staff,  James L. Cigler, Director of Product Certification and Verification and Jennifer E. Cleary, Director of Regulatory Affairs. 

Jim will oversee AHAM’s ongoing and new appliance rating certification and verification programs. AHAM currently administers programs for room air conditioners, dehumidifiers and room air cleaners and is developing programs for refrigerators and freezers and portable air conditioners.

Jennifer brings her expertise to AHAM’s Government Relations Department.  She is familiar with AHAM’s mission and scope through her prior role as AHAM legal counsel where she practiced in the Antitrust and Federal Regulation section of Mintz Levin.

You can find contact information for all AHAM staff members on the AHAM website.

Your appliances can help you keep cool during this summer scorcher

While much of the East coast is dealing with a severe heat wave, not even a day at the pool can provide relief of triple digit temperatures.  Keeping your home cool can also be a challenge for those who want to conserve energy. 

A local Maryland newspaper, hometownannapolis.com recently published an article with lots of helpful tips to make your home feel cooler while using less energy.  Some of their tips include using a dehumidifier to make your home feel cooler and running appliances like your dishwasher at night.  Read the full article for lots of strategic ideas to keep your home cool this summer!

Appliance Industry Cites Benefits of Appliance Rebate Programs

AHAM credits the State Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Programs (SEEARP), funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, with delivering the promised benefits of stimulating economic activity. The program has been very successful in encouraging U.S. consumers to purchase ENERGY STAR appliances, but its modest funding and complicated rollout limited its effectiveness in saving consumers energy and money.

Many AHAM members have pointed to a significant increase in demand for the ENERGY STAR appliances included in the rebate program.  AHAM’s April factory shipment report shows a nearly 20 percent increase in shipments of major home appliances compared to April 2009.  Year to date, shipments of core appliances are up 9.1 percent following four consecutive years of declines. 

Major retailers have confirmed that the rebate program has helped bring consumers back into stores.  While the $300 million funding for the rebate program was significantly less than other stimulus programs, the return of consumers to stores also helped stimulate the purchase of goods other than appliances. 

AHAM’s assessment of the SEEARP program is that it has been a success but that its modest funding and complicated rollout limited its effectiveness in saving consumers energy and money and stimulating economic activity. AHAM also recommends a single, national rebate program instead of 50 separate state programs, each requiring separate DOE approval and related administrative costs.  A consistent nationwide program would make it much easier for manufacturers to partner with retailers to develop promotional campaigns to make consumers aware of the rebates. 

Read more on AHAM's view of the SEEARP program at www.aham.org.

Easy Spring Cleaning Tips for your Appliances

In order to get the most from your household appliances, you need to show them a little love in return.  Regular maintenance will keep your appliances running in top shape and keep them running longer. The New York Times recently published an article with tips to take care of your dishwasher, refrigerator, ovens, vacuums and more.

“Appliance maintenance does not take long — and best of all, it can
extend the lifespan of an appliance,” the article correctly states.  Always consult your use and care manual first, and follow these tips in The Fix when you are doing your routine house cleaning this spring.

You can also visit www.aham.org/consumer for more information on appliance care.