Saving Water and Energy through More Efficient Clothes Washers


This past December I traded in my suits and ties for jeans and t-shirts and relocated from DC to Los Angeles.  While I have missed out on the brutally cold and snowy winter that has plagued much of the East, my newly-adopted home state, California, has not been immune from the perils of extreme weather.  As many of my colleagues have written about, California has been experiencing record-breaking drought conditions.  And despite heavy rains a few weeks ago, much of our state—nearly two-thirds—is still facing extreme or exceptional drought.

As communities throughout California grapple with dwindling water supplies by implementing voluntary or mandatory restrictions, there are a variety of ways that we can reduce the amount of water we use every day.  And using a more efficient clothes washer is among the ways to save water at home.

Clothes washers are responsible for a substantial portion of a typical household’s indoor water usage, and replacing older, inefficient clothes washers with new ENERGY STAR models or models ranked by TopTen USA can save a lot of money, water, and energy.  If you’re in the market for a new clothes washer, choosing a TopTen clothes washer over a basic, non-ENERGY STAR model can save enough water every year to fill 150 bathtubs and enough energy to power the average household for more than two weeks!  Further, you’d save roughly $106 a year on your utility bills.  If you’re currently using an older top-loading clothes washer with a large center agitator at home, you’ll save even more.

To encourage customers to replace their older, less efficient clothes washers with more efficient models, many utilities provide rebates.  Currently, residents in some areas of California can receive up to $300 on the purchase of select high-efficiency models.  You can find out if your utility provides a rebate by visiting our new clothes washer webpage.

As I’ve written about previously, we’re working to get energy and water utilities in the Great Lakes to collaborate on clothes washer incentive programs.  And because of the enormous water and energy savings possible with newer, more-efficient clothes washer models, we’re also recommending that California promote high-efficiency clothes washers as a way to help address the drought crisis.  While using a high-efficiency clothes washer in your home won’t stop the drought, it is one step towards reducing your water use and helping to limit the drought’s impact on communities throughout our state.                                  

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