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Unplugged: Saving the Planet One Wash at a Time

We know we have been critical of the Obama administration of late, calling on the Department of Energy to get moving on publishing crucial energy efficiency standards. But we are happy to applaud the administration when they make good on their promise for a clean energy future. The latest: new clothes washer and dishwasher standards will not only save American consumers money on their utility bills, but will lead to washers that use much less energy and water.

Earthjustice participated in negotiations that led to a joint agreement between manufacturers and environmental and consumer advocates recommending the standards that DOE has now adopted. Specifically clothes washers will use up to 35 percent less energy and water and dishwashers will use about 14 percent less energy and 23 percent less water.

The savings to American consumers? Families who buy these new clothes washers could save between $400-$600 (over the lifetime of the clothes washers) in lower energy and water bills compared to today’s models that don’t meet these standards, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and the Appliance Standards Awareness Project. Buyers of the new dishwashers will save about $100.

Here is what Tim Ballo, one of our energy efficiency attorneys who worked on this issue, had to say about this news:

“It’s no secret that clothes washers and dishwashers use a lot of energy and water. But these new standards will not only keep our clothes and dishes clean, but will keep money in the pockets of American families. We are pleased DOE and the administration is making good on their goal of issuing more energy efficient standards, and we believe that by negotiating directly with manufacturers and consumer groups we can get strong standards in place while avoiding partisan gridlock. Not only will Americans cut their emissions of carbon pollution but these standards also make economic sense.”


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