Saving Water and Energy
Energy efficient washing machines are those that reduce the amount of energy and water used by traditional, more outdated models. With new technology, washing machines today are much better suited for the environment, and for washing clothes. Any washing machine manufactured before 1998 is most likely using more energy and water then is necessary — the models made back then were not designed for energy efficiency.
Switching to a green washing machine, typically a front loading model designated as an Energy Star efficient appliance, will save around $135 dollars a year for the average family, and about seventeen gallons of water, per load of laundry washed. This means that switching to one of the most efficient green washing machine models will save money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions through a more efficient use of energy, and will reduce water consumption, helping to preserve the national water supply. Using cold water for laundry will decrease the cost and energy use of washing clothes even more.
Front Loading Washing Machines
Front loading washing machines are designed to be much more environmentally practical than most top loading machines (there are energy efficient top loading models available). They also are more gentle on clothing, making it possible to use a washing machine for more delicate fabrics usually done by hand. Front loading washing machines work by flipping and spinning clothes, and washing with a minimal amount of water. They also do not have a central agitator, as do conventional machines, allowing for more room for larger loads. They operate at higher speeds during the spin cycle, so clothes are dryer when the wash is complete.
Energy Star Efficient Machines
An Energy Star efficient washing machine is one that is given the Energy Star label. Energy Star is affiliated with the US Environmental Protection Agency as well as the US Department of Energy. All Energy Star appliances meet the strict guidelines set up by these government agencies.
Look for the Energy Star sticker, which is on most front loading models, and newer washing machines in general. The sticker will provide more detailed information as to how green a washing machine may be. The Modified Energy Factor (MEF), will show the level of energy efficiency, and the Water Factor (WF), will show how much water is used with a particular machine. What is the most eco-friendly, green washing machine? While there is no single answer to this question as newer, more efficient models are consistently being introduced, and several major companies have been able to provide incredible green washing machines, look for front loading, Energy Star efficient models with a high MEF and a low WF.
Best Rated Washing Machines for Efficiency
According to the Consumer Reports list (2009) of the most water and energy efficient washers, there are several models which rank well as being environmentally friendly, and also being able to perform well. They include:
- LG Allergiene Steam Washer
- GE Profile
- GE Profile Steam Washer
- GE WCVH6800J
- Electrolux Wave Touch
- Samsung WF448AA
The Samsung clothes washer had the best overall rating, while the GE WCVH6800J had the lowest price. ASKO washing machines, designed in Sweden, are also worth investigating as they are highly efficient and durable.
Although the initial cost of buying a new, more eco-friendly washing machine can be a lot, the long term benefits are worth it. By figuring out what is the most efficient green washing machine and then making the investment, more money will be saved than the machine is worth over the lifetime of the appliance, and the negative environmental impact of this modern convenience will be greatly reduced.
"Washing Machines are Getting Cleaner and Greener." (GreenHome) <greenhome.com/info/articles/save_energy/89/>
"Clothes Washers Buyer's Guide." (Energy Star) <energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=clotheswash.pr_tips_clothes_washers>
"Green Ratings Washers/Dryers." (Consumer Reports) <greenerchoices.org/ratings.cfm?product=washer>
photo by: Redgoober4life (CC/flickr)