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Energy Consumption of Major Household Appliances Shipped in Canada – Trends for 1990-2003


The energy efficiency of almost all major household appliances² on the market improved dramatically between 1990 and 2003. Electric ranges were the only exception. Largely responsible for the improvement were the significant research and development carried out by appliance manufacturers and three initiatives authorized under the 1992 Energy Efficiency Act: the minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) contained in the Energy Efficiency Regulations, the EnerGuide for Equipment program and the ENERGY STAR® initiative.

Figure A.1 depicts the cumulative energy savings of major household appliances resulting from general efficiency improvements and the MEPS from 1992 to 2003. The cumulative energy savings are measured in petajoules (PJ).³

  • The cumulative energy savings for all major household appliances during the period were 20.75 PJ.

  • Among major appliances, refrigerators produced the largest cumulative energy savings, 8.09 PJ from 1992 to 2003.

  • Electric ranges produced the least cumulative energy savings, 0.35 PJ over the period.

Cumulative Savings for All Major Household Appliances, 1992-2003

Cumulative Savings for All Major Household Appliances, 1992–2003.

² Major household appliances include refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, electric ranges, clothes washers and electric clothes dryers.

³ One petajoule (PJ) (1 PJ = 1 x 1015 joules) is equivalent to approximately the amount of energy consumed by about 8400 households in one year, assuming each household uses 119 gigajoules (GJ) (1 GJ = 1 x 109 joules) annually; according to the Energy Use Data Handbook, 1990 and 1997 to 2003 [Ottawa: Natural Resources Canada, June 2005], pp. 22–23.

A joule is the international unit of measure of energy produced by the power of one watt flowing for one second. There are 3.6 million joules in one kilowatt hour.