Saving Energy and Water through State Programs for Clothes Washer Replacement in the Great Lakes Region

White Paper


Rachel Cluett, Jennifer Amann, ACEEE; Ben Chou and Ed Osann, NRDC


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) are collaborating to identify opportunities for energy and water savings in the clothes washer sector as part of the development of an innovative program for the Great Lakes region. This paper presents a characterization of existing clothes washer markets, both commercial and residential, as well as the technical and economic potential for water and energy savings in various clothes washer markets in the Great Lakes states. This research will inform efforts to develop a statewide program for implementation in the Great Lakes states to save energy and water through clothes washer replacement.

While the residential clothes washer market has seen significant success in a transition to high performance ENERGY STAR machines, there are still opportunities for energy savings through replacement with the highest efficiency units ranked by programs such as TopTen USA and ENERGY STAR Most Efficient. Additionally, the commercial clothes washer market has significant potential for energy and water savings. The commercial clothes washer market is significantly more diverse and varied than the residential market with respect to machine type, size, and usage patterns. As a result, upgrades to commercial clothes washers in multifamily, laundromat, and on-premise laundry settings have the potential to yield significant energy and water savings.