WASHINGTON - At the National Automatic Merchandising Association Spring Expo, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the specifications for refrigerated beverage vending machines to earn the Energy Star label.

According to the EPA, refrigerated beverage vending machines that qualify as Energy Star units are 35 percent more energy efficient than standard new machine models and will save building and business owners up to $90/year in electricity costs per machine.

Nearly 3.4 million refrigerated beverage vending machines are installed across the United States, and together consume more than 15 billion kWh/year, the EPA says. If all vending machines installed by 2012 have earned the Energy Star, building and business owners could save $100 million dollars per year, says the agency.

The Energy Star specifications apply to new machine models. EPA is working with industry members to develop a refurbished (or retrofit) machine program that will allow older, less efficient machines to be upgraded to qualify for the Energy Star before the end of 2004.

Four manufacturers of vending machines - Royal Vendors, Vendo, Dixie-Narco, and Crane Merchandising Systems - have committed to manufacture and label newly qualified equipment. A number of refrigerated beverage vending machine models already qualify, says EPA.

Newly qualified model listings are available at www.energystar.gov/products.

Publication date: 04/12/2004