Refrigeration Is Getting Hot: What New DOE Regulations Mean for Your Properties
Published in PMA Bulletin, September 2014
By Joe Copsey, Multi-Housing Depot by ARI
Fridges Ordered to Save More Energy
What do you do when a refrigerator in an apartment unit breaks down and there is no way to repair it? Most likely, you’ll hurry to order a new one because your residents are understandably concerned and want a functional fridge without delay.
In your recent experience with your vendors, ordering refrigerators has never been a problem. This task, however, might become much more difficult and time consuming because of the new energy conservation standards for residential refrigerators and freezers that will kick in September 15, 2014.
Since 1990, appliance manufacturers have been required to comply with the Department of Energy’s (DOE) energy conservation standards. The recently announced new DOE energy standards specify the maximum permitted energy usage for all products known collectively as “refrigeration products” and manufactured after September 15, 2014. The majority of appliances used in the multi-housing industry is classified as refrigeration products and will be directly affected by this new standard.
What Does It Mean for Your Property?
Now that your apartment refrigerators are required to save more energy, get ready for changes that impact everything —from current inventory with distributors to product cost.
First, you might encounter a problem with product availability. Factory expectations across appliance manufacturers are all different, and your distributors will depend on them in order to fulfill your order. At this time, they might not be reliable. This could result in possible delays in unit turnover and a longer wait for those unlucky residents whose fridge decides to go on the fritz.
As factories continue to work through the new regulations and update their manufacturing processes, communications on product availability will be released and should get better in the future weeks with more reliable and realistic timelines.
Second, some manufacturers actually changed the dimensions of refrigerators and this can affect existing and new kitchen cabinet layouts. As with any new regulation that affects a manufacturing process, there is a potential need for redesign of existing products. This has already been seen with appliance manufacturers whose new models have different sizes in order to comply with the latest DOE energy conservation standards. So, refrigerators at your community that used to fit perfectly into existing spaces in your kitchens may no longer fit. You might need to reconsider which refrigerators to buy.
Refrigerator cost is another immediate consequence that is going to impact the property management industry. As manufacturers have been developing new models to the new energy conservation standards, there has been up to a 20% price increase on some models. In other cases, decreases in cost as large as 5% have been seen.
What You Can Do About It
Your goal is to get through this transition as smoothly as possible. It will be important for management companies and onsite teams to have an effective line of communication with their vendors. Distributors should be able to provide crossover models. If there is none, they should suggest a different model or manufacturer. The new models still need to function in the existing space without having to disturb the layout or residents. For renovations or unit turnover, it will be critical that distributors stay on top of timelines to stock your product and meet your schedules.
For more information on the new regulation, visit the Department of Energy’s web site:
About the Author
Joe Copsey is a Certified Apartment Supplier
(CAS) and Drector of Business Development at Multi-Housing Depot by ARI.
Residential Refrigerators and Freezers: Facts and Figures from DOE
Manufacturers have been required to comply with the Department of Energy’s (DOE) energy conservation standards for residential refrigerators and freezers since 1990. The standard implemented in 1990 will save approximately 5.6 quads of energy and result in approximately $61.7 billion in energy bill savings for products shipped from 1990-2019. The standard will avoid about 312.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of about 61.3 million automobiles.
The standards implemented in 1993 and 2001 will save approximately 15.3 quads of energy and result in approximately $174.8 billion in energy bill savings for products shipped from 1993-2022. The standards will avoid about 828.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of about 162.4 million automobiles.
Standards mandatory in 2014 will save approximately 5.6 quads of energy and result in approximately $97 billion in energy bill savings for products shipped from 2014-2043. The standard will avoid about 295 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of about 57.8 million automobiles.
The United States Department of Energy (D.O.E.) has recently announced new energy standards for refrigeration effective September, 2014. In order to meet the new U.S. energy standards there will be some cost considerations and possible changes to installation dimensions. The difference in the dimensions can possibly affect the fit with your current kitchen cabinet layouts. These changes are happening now and they impact all customers in the Multi-Housing Industry. Contact your refrigeration supplier to get your current model numbers cross referenced to the
new model numbers along with the dimensions.