Launch Slideshow

Water-Conserving Appliances

8 efficient washers and dishwashers.

Water-Conserving Appliances

8 efficient washers and dishwashers.

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    Maytag.
    With a Water Factor of 2.7, the Maxima washing machine uses as little as 11.5 gallons of water, qualifying it for both Energy Star and CEE Tier 3 labels. The washing machine features front-load technology, which tumbles clothes through a small amount of water instead of rubbing them against an agitator in a full tub like most traditional top-loaders. A water level sensor matches water usage to load size, further increasing water efficiency. 800.344.1274. www.maytag.com.

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    Electrolux.
    The Energy Star–labeled EIDW5905 dishwasher houses water efficiency in a sustainable package. The fully integrated model, which claims to use 40% less water than those used 10 years ago, features a 100% recyclable stainless steel dishwasher tub. According to the company, the water savings can be attributed to the dishwasher’s advanced hydraulic and filter system. 877.435.3287. www.electroluxappliances.com.

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    Asko.
    In addition to having a Water Factor of only 3.3, the W6884ECO washing machine saves energy by having two water inlet connections: one for hot water and one for cold. By utilizing the hot water already available in the home, the company claims users can save up to 60% of the machine’s electrical energy consumption. If the water needs to be warmer than the incoming hot water, the Energy Star–labeled washer heats it to the specified temperature. 800.898.1879. www.askousa.com.

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    Fisher & Paykel.
    The AquaSmart top-loading washing machine features high efficiency and traditional washing modes. In the Eco Active wash mode, water and concentrated detergent are recirculated during pre-wash, improving wash performance and creating an action similar to a front-loader without the time constraints of heating water. Sensors and a low-profile agitator design help the washer achieve a water factor of 4.3, qualifying it for Tier 3 CEE designation. 888.936.7872. www.fisherpaykel.com.

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    LG.
    The LDF7932 fully integrated SteamDishwasher from LG utilizes steam technology to help achieve its CEE Tier 2 efficiency designation, saving 49% more water than the Energy Star qualifying standard. According to the company, steam is a more water-efficient way to clean baked-on foods compared to most traditional power-scrub methods. A half-load cleaning option allows homeowners an additional way to conserve water. 800.243.0000. www.lgusa.com.

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    Kenmore.
    The 28002 is an example of one of the appliance industry’s more recent innovations: high-efficiency top-load clothes washers. With a Water Factor of 3.9, the top-loading appliance has earned CEE Tier 3 status and is more efficient than some of today’s front-loading washers. Instead of the agitator and deep-fill methods used in traditional top-loaders, this model uses a wash plate for concentrated cleaning, eliminating the need for the washer to fully fill with water. 888.536.6673. www.kenmore.com.

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    Bosch Home Appliances.
    Using as little as 1.57 gallons of water per cycle, the 800 Plus dishwasher from Bosch is one of the industry’s most water-efficient models. In addition to turbidity sensors that automatically adjust water usage based on the soil levels of the water, the Energy Star–rated appliance has a triple filtration system, which filters out food soils from the water before it goes into the pump. This allows the least amount of food soil to be sprayed back onto the surface of the dishes, enabling a more efficient use of both water and detergent. 800.944.2904. www.boschappliances.com.

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    Miele.
    The G2872 is classified as a CEE Tier 1 dishwasher, exceeding current Energy Star standards. The appliance uses as little as 1.1 gallons of water in its eco programs and 4.96 gallons in normal wash programs. Sensors help increase water efficiency by measuring the turbidity or clarity of the water and then adapting water consumption, program duration, and wash temperatures based on the level of soiling. 800.843.7231. www.mieleusa.com.

For the last decade, the efficiency story for appliances has been all about energy. But in recent years, the industry has realized that water savings is just as important to sustainability efforts, not to mention the overall efficiency of water-using appliances.

In fact, the two go hand in hand: The less water an appliance uses, the less there is to heat, and, therefore, the less overall energy used.

The government has caught on, too, adding water standards to its dishwasher requirements in 2010 and to clothes washer requirements in January. Energy Star has included water consumption as part of its efficiency equation for the last two years.

The efforts are paying off, as today’s dishwashers and washing machines use 60% less water than they did 10 to 15 years ago. In fact, if a homeowner replaced an eight-year-old clothes washer with a new Energy Star model, he or she would save about 5,000 gallons of water per year. And that’s just one appliance.

Super Savers

The good news is that the list of water-efficient clothes washers and dishwashers is vast. Thanks to technology advancements such as front-loading washing machines and soil sensors in dishwashers, most well surpass the current federal standard, and the majority meet or exceed Energy Star requirements. There is also a subset of extremely efficient appliances that qualify for the Consortium of Energy Efficiency’s (CEE) Super-Efficient Home Appliance (SEHA) program. The initiative calls out products that go above and beyond Energy Star requirements for both water and energy, categorizing them within two or three tiers, depending on the appliance.

Still, while this growing number of water-efficient appliances is certainly beneficial, it can be overwhelming for specifiers. For washing machines, a good place to start is looking for models that carry the Energy Star label. As of January, Energy Star washing machines must have a Water Factor (WF) of 6.0, which indicates the number of gallons of water needed for each cubic foot of laundry (the lower the WF, the lower the water consumption; the federal minimum requirement is 9.5).

Contractors looking to offer homeowners the most water-efficient clothes washers can turn to the CEE tier system, which also was updated in January. Tier 1 clothes washers currently fall in line with Energy Star requirements (6.0 WF); however, Tier 2 products have a WF of 4.5, and Tier 3 products have a WF of 4.0 or less. Homeowners with a Tier 3 washer can potentially save more than 6,000 gallons of water per year compared to models that meet minimum federal requirements.

On the dishwasher side, standard-sized units (eight or more place settings) can use no more than 5.8 gallons of water per cycle to qualify for Energy Star, and compact models (less than eight place settings) use a maximum of 4.0 gallons per cycle. (Federal standards require 6.5 gallons or less per cycle.)

Hefty changes are in the works, however. In 2012, Energy Star is expected to raise energy and water usage requirements for dishwashers significantly—so much so that the percentage of qualifying dishwashers will likely drop from 80% of available units to 25%. Both of CEE’s dishwasher tiers exceed current Energy Star requirements, making it a safe bet for builders who don’t want to re-specify once the new Energy Star standards are put in place. Currently, Tier 1 dishwashers only use 5.0 gallons of water per cycle, and Tier 2 models use 4.25 or less gallons per cycle.