What is the difference between the older refrigerators and freezers at my local retailer and the new models available to me?

On most full-size configurations of new refrigerators and freezers, there is a 25% increase in energy efficiency compared to a model built 10 years ago, and those second refrigerators and freezers located in the garage or basement since the 1990s could be using twice as much money as newer ones. If your refrigerator or freezer is older than 10 years, visit www.energystar.gov to see how much your current model is costing you to operate and how much you could save by retiring it and opting for a newer, more efficient model.

How can I tell which models meet the new U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) efficiency requirements?

Always look for the yellow label, also known as the EnergyGuide label, which you will find displayed on all refrigerator and freezer models – the new labels will have yellow numbers. View a side-by-side comparison of the old and new labels here.

What type of information will I find on the new EnergyGuide label?

The new label will show, in yellow text, estimated annual energy use in kilowatt hours (kWh) and yearly cost to operate the freezer or refrigerator based on an average national electricity rate. The actual cost will vary depending on the electricity rates in your area.

Why is energy consumption for the new models listed as higher than older models on the EnergyGuide labels? Aren’t the newer models more energy efficient?

Yes, the new models are more energy efficient. But the energy consumption value of the new models is based on new and rigorous testing methods. Those new methods differ significantly from previous test methods and measure energy that was not previously measured.

That’s why these new products may list a higher energy consumption value than previous models, even though in reality they use significantly less energy.

When will new models be available?

New models will arrive in stores as early as January 2014. By September 2014, all new refrigerator and freezer models will follow the new testing procedures and energy efficiency requirements. Look for the EnergyGuide label to determine which products fall under the new requirements — remember new labels feature yellow numbers — or ask your retail sales associate for assistance.

How are energy efficiency ratings determined?

A refrigerator’s or freezer’s energy rating is based on laboratory tests conducted by manufacturers according to the U.S. Department of Energy regulations and testing procedures. The U.S. Department of Energy and ENERGY STAR® program confirm manufacturers’ results through market surveillance, independent testing, and, for ENERGY STAR® products, by relying on test results from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) verification programs.

What does the AHAM Verifide mark on a home appliance mean?

Models with the AHAM Verifide mark on the rating label are eligible for random testing by AHAM to confirm manufacturer volume and energy ratings. For more detailed information, visit ahamverifide.org.

How can I learn more about the EnergyGuide label?

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has published information about the new yellow EnergyGuide labels that can be found here. For more information about EnergyGuide labels, read the FTC’s “Shopping for Home Appliances? Use the EnergyGuide Label.”