This article was originally published in the May/June 1996 issue of Home Energy Magazine. Some formatting inconsistencies may be evident in older archive content.


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Home Energy Magazine Online May/June 1996


Efficient Refrigerators for Apartments

In 1997, Maytag will offer an efficient small refrigerator to utilities and public housing authorities who purchase them through a national procurement initiative. The 14.8 ft3 refrigerators (28 inches wide x 29 inches deep x 60 inches tall) will be available to those who buy 100 or more, including private multifamily housing, states, and universities (but not resellers).

Manufactured under the Magic Chef label, the model will be frost-free with the freezer on top and should use approximately 437 kWh/yr-around 30% less than current (1993) DOE efficiency standards and 50% less than those manufactured in the early 1980s. The units are expected to use R-134A as a refrigerant, rather than CFCs.

Under the initiative the refrigerators will cost less than the typical retail price of standard efficiency units of a similar capacity. Standard apartment-sized refrigerators purchased in bulk usually cost $385-$400 each. Delivery costs should range from $7 to $12 per refrigerator.

By committing to buy a core order of 20,000 refrigerators, the New York Power Authority (NYPA) helped spur Maytag to design, and retool production facilities for, a highly efficient model suitable for apartments. NYPA identified the concept in response to the needs of a key customer, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), who wanted to lower electricity bills and upgrade its housing facilities. NYPA agreed to purchase the refrigerators, and NYCHA will repay the utility from the attributable energy cost savings.

Through the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE), NYPA is encouraging other utilities and housing authorities across the United States to purchase refrigerators under the initiative. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s Energy Savers program is also helping with the effort.

The NYPA request for proposals used to secure Maytag's bid mirrors both NYCHA's and the General Service Administration's requirements for competitive bidding. This process may meet other utilities' and public housing authorities' bidding requirements as well, saving administrative time and costs.

Housing authorities can also apply for assistance through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD's performance funding system (PFS) allows savings due to energy efficiency upgrades to be used to pay back the debt incurred to purchase and install the measures. (HUD typically provides funds to housing authorities to pay energy bills. Under PFS, HUD can freeze energy payments to the authority at a traditional level even after bills have been reduced, so that the authority can use the savings to pay off the loans.) HUD has approved this concept for NYCHA, pending verification of savings through metering. DOE and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority will test the units to verify energy savings. Authorities can contact local HUD offices for details on performance funding.

Those interested in taking advantage of this initiative should notify CEE by letter, and place a purchase order with Maytag under the NYPA agreement by November 30, 1996, to receive refrigerators in 1997. For more information contact Ed Wisniewski, CEE program manager, 1 State Street, Suite 1400, Boston, MA 02109, Tel:(617)589-3949; Scott Brown, NYPA project manager, at (212)468-6968; or Beth Callsen, DOE project manager, at (202)586-9169.

-Ed Wisniewski

Ed Wisniewski is the initiative's program manager at the Consortium for Energy Efficiency, a nonprofit organization whose members include electric and gas utilities, DOE, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


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