WASHINGTON -- The average energy use of most new cold beverage vending machines would be cut by about 42%, under new national minimum standards published this week by the U.S. Department of Energy.
The move fulfills President Obama's pledge to complete five new efficiency standards by August. According to the DOE, the standards will save enough electricity to meet the needs of about 1.4 million typical U.S. homes for one year, and will save property owners where vending machines are located nearly $500 million over 30 years.
"With roughly 3 million beverage vending machines in the U.S., or one for every 100 Americans, a strong national standard means real savings for all the universities, park districts, hotels, and other institutions and businesses that pay the electric bills for these machines," said Noah Horowitz, senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council. "With these standards, we are assured that all new soda vending machines will be energy sippers and not the energy guzzlers of old."
The efficiency standards, which become effective in 2012, build on a series of improvements in vending machine efficiency achieved over the past decade. According to Horowitz, who pioneered research into vending machine energy use, many machines used as much as 3,000 to 5,000 kilowatt-hours a year in the mid-1990s. With the new standards, per-unit energy use will be no more than about 1,400 to 1,800 kilowatt-hours a year. Once the new standards take effect, new machines typically will each save over $100 a year, with the savings potential being much greater for larger machines and those in warm climates, Horowitz said.
The President signed a memorandum on Feb. 5, directing the DOE to complete five new standards by August and to meet or beat all legal deadlines for standards due later. Altogether, about two dozen new energy efficiency standards are due during the current presidential term.