SEDI Transforms North American Market for Super-Efficient Dryers
Approximately 85% of U.S. households have clothes dryers. They account for 6% of residential electricity consumption and cost consumers about $9 billion every year. Despite this, they are the only major household appliance without an ENERGY STAR label or utility financial incentive program. The Super Efficient Dryer Initiative (SEDI), launched in 2010 by the New Jersey Clean Energy Program, brings together dryer manufacturers, government agencies, utilities, and appliance retailers in the U.S. and Canada to promote the introduction of advanced clothes dryers into the North American market. Since its launch, SEDI sponsorship has expanded to thirteen energy efficiency programs across the US and Canada. Its members include, among others, the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) and the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP). In its role as technical lead of SEDI, CLASP conducts product analyses and testing to form the basis for policy recommendations to utilities and state or federal energy efficiency programs. Drawing on lessons learned from TopTen’s experiences introducing heat pump clothes dryers into Europe, SEDI conducts technical research, promotes policy measures, and coordinates stakeholder engagement to pave the way for this advanced technology to transform the U.S. and Canadian market towards higher energy efficiency and cost savings for consumers. SEDI’s efforts have supported the following policy developments and research:
- On behalf of SEDI, CLASP assisted the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop labeling specifications for the first-ever clothes dryer ENERGY STAR label in 2013. These specifications will require qualifying dryers to consume 20% less energy than standard electric or gas dryers, resulting in a carbon abatement potential of about .2 MtCO2 per year. EPA plans to announce the new label in 2014.
- In June 2013, EPA announced the winner of its Emerging Technology Award for advanced clothes dryers. The winning model consumes 30% less energy than the average US clothes dryer. CLASP assisted EPA to set more stringent specifications for the award to ensure that only the most energy efficient dryers would qualify. The Emerging Technology Award helps to increase consumer awareness about more energy efficient products, motivate manufacturers to produce them, and inform market transformation programs by state utilities.
- Under SEDI, CLASP and its partners published a comprehensive study demonstrating that European clothes dryers using heat pump technology are 50-60% more energy efficient than the conventional electric dryers used in North America. Moreover, their peak consumption is approximately one-fifth that of North American dryers, significantly reducing power demand. The study provides the technical evidence necessary for state and local utilities to promote new technology through financial incentive programs that will make new super-efficient dryers more affordable to consumers.