White goods and other domestic appliances are responsible for almost 50% of overall domestic electricity usage. In these time of tight finances and rising energy bills that’s a serious dent on your wallet but, as ever, there are many ways to reduce costs. Buying energy efficient appliances is a great way to give yourself a head-start in reducing your bill, and of course doing your bit for the environment at the same time!
The majority of household own a dishwasher and being rather reliable appliances they often remain in use for 10+ years before being replaced, so the small energy saving you will make on each wash cycle will quickly add up. An average household will run a dishwasher through well over 200 wash cycles a year – which adds up into the thousands of cycles over the dishwasher’s lifespan.
If you’re looking to purchase a new dishwasher within the EU, the process of finding an energy efficient model is made very easy, using the EU Energy Efficiency Rating. This takes into account energy and water consumption. Almost all dishwashers are Energy rated using a simple grading scale from A through G. The difference in efficiency is very significant, with lower graded models (D or below) potentially cost double the amount in energy costs! If you don’t live in the EU, most other countries make use of a very similar scale, perhaps replacing the A-G scale with numbers or such, but the basic concept is the same.
If you are a US consumer it has to be said that things are a bit trickier when trying to be green in your new dishwasher purchase. Unlike the more standardized systems for measuring energy efficiency that the majority of other countries use, the United States uses the Energy Star system, a voluntary system overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency. The system differs greatly from the other systems, with appliances not being graded but rather giving model specific advice such as the estimated yearly operating cost and the estimated yearly electric usage. This makes things a bit more difficult for the consumer as everybody’s usage will be different. It is only recently that the system has taken into account a dishwasher’s water consumption alongside its electricity use! The Energy Star system should only be used as a loose guideline and you should do your own research on specific models to go alongside the Energy Star rating.
Of course you can also help improve energy efficiency using your current dishwasher (or make even further savings with your new green model) with a few simple methods – always make sure the dishwasher is full before running a cycle, let the dishes air dry (the dishwashers drying cycle is the most energy intensive part), or try running at lower temperatures. Most detergents available today are able to clean just as effectively at lower temps.