Appliance R&D at ORNL's Buildings Technology Center supports DOE's goals to
reduce energy use in space heating and cooling, reduce electric peak loads due to air conditioning, and eliminate ozone-depleting refrigerants while increasing energy efficiency. The program is accelerating the introduction and widespread use of highly efficient appliances through voluntary partnerships with industry.
Work at the BTC includes the following:
- Refrigerators The BTC has developed an advanced refrigerator/freezer that uses half the current standard of electricity. An improved refrigerator/freezer compressor saved consumers more than $6 billion in energy costs between 1980 and 1990.
- Clothes washers ORNL conducted a landmark study in the small community of Bern, Kansas, to test the real-world energy efficiency of horizontal-axis washers and published a report on the findings. A description of the study, and the report itself, are available at the ENERGY STAR web site.
- Water heaters BTC researchers are helping to develop low-energy-use water heating technologies and a "drop-in" residential heat pump water heater that will cut energy consumption for water heating by at least half. In collaboration with Alabama Power, ORNL has completed a field test comparing an integrated space-conditioning/water heating heat pump system. Data at one of the 11 test sites showed that the integrated system achieved average monthly efficiencies from about 10% to over 50% higher than those of a 10-SEER heat pump/electric resistance water heater system. Future advanced water heating research will focus on developing improved, cost-effective heat pump water heater (HPWH) systems.