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United States of Efficiency

Inefficient electricity distribution transformers add up to large amounts of wasted energy.

In 2007, we filed a lawsuit challenging the Bush administration's weak energy efficiency standards for electricity distribution transformers, those gray boxes mounted on utility poles that power all our homes and businesses. The results of that lawsuit are new standards from the U.S. Department of Energy that were published in the Federal Register on Thursday.

Few household appliances use as much energy or get replaced as rarely as clothes dryers. And unlike with most other household appliances, you won’t learn this when you are shopping for a new model.

The typical dryer uses more energy than the typical refrigerator, clothes washer, or dishwasher. But unlike all three of those products, dryers do not have to display yellow-and-black Energy Guide labels disclosing their energy costs.

If you are one of the millions of American consumers who shop or browse online for major appliances and would like to know the environmental impact your new purchase will have, we’ve got some good news. The Federal Trade Commission has finally updated its newly named Energy Labeling Rule to make it easier for you to compare models and to know the energy consumption (and operating cost) of new products.

If you say the word “motor” to most people, they would probably think first of the motor in their car. Many people understandably take a great interest in the gasoline or diesel engine that gets them around. But while amateur mechanics across the country may spend their weekends fussing over these motors, I’ve yet to see grease-covered enthusiasts gathered in a garage discussing the horsepower of their washing machines.

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