Monday, May 12, 2008

Going Green, part 4: Appliances

To see the first "Going Green" post and links to subsequent ones, click here.
AAaahhh.... the (very low) hum of my high-efficiency washer as it gets load after load after load of clothes, blankets, and cloth diapers clean is music to my ears. My new dishwasher, also quiet, is cleaning my dishes as I type--dishes I didn't have to pre-wash in the sink. I just scraped off food and put them in! And my freezer, in the basement, is full of meals, bread, and other various and sundry food items--keeping them frozen for far less money than its predecessor.

It just so happens that, during this past year, we've had a number of appliances break on us. Our dishwasher gave out when I was pregnant with my twins. When we bought our new one, we learned that most of the newer models wash dishes well enough that you don't have to pre-wash/rinse them in the sink! Our dishwasher has done a pretty good job of this; stuck on egg and cheese do not come off well, nor does the silverware get as clean without a pre-rinse. Everything else does just great. This is helping us reduce our water usage!

Our washing machine broke the first week we brought our first twin home from the hospital! His brother was still in the NICU. Well, newborns can produce more laundry than the rest of the house together. So, getting a new washer was pretty urgent. We took the plunge and bought a high efficiency front loader and have been so thankful!!! The amount of water these things use compared to the top loaders is quite remarkable. An average top loader uses about 50-70 gallons of water per load. Front loaders: 14 gallons per load!!!! Our water bill shows us a bar graph of water usage over the past year. The month we added cloth diapers for two newborns showed a bar graph equal to the month before the boys were even born! That was proof enough for me. If I could do that much laundry and still not be using any more water than before my newborns even contributed their immense wash load to the rotation, then my new washer was indeed saving us money and water!

The photo at the top is from the sticker inside our freezer. It's hard to see, but in the bottom middle, there's a phrase saying "energy performance certified." Most appliances that are more energy efficient than their counterparts will advertise themselves as "energy star certified" or something to that effect. It's worth considering these more efficient appliances if you're in the market for a new (large) home appliance. They might cost a little more money up front, but they really do work well at saving energy (and your utilities bills) compared to the more in-efficient models. Do some research, check the ratings, and bring home a new energy-efficient appliance. Our next appliance needing replacing is a water heater.... dare we go tank-less?

1 comment:

eredux said...

Check This Unique US Carbon Footprint Map out, illustrating Greenest States and a lot more down to US City Level...