Upgrading to an Energy Star, high-efficient washing machine is a great step towards making your home energy-efficient and green, but is their more that you could be doing with your laundry to reduce your carbon footprint? Energy Star washing machines, which are included in all new EYA homes, use 37% less energy and 50% less water than regular washers, saving you an average of $135 a year in utility bill costs. You could be saving even more, though, if you use some of these tips:
- Limit dryer use. On average, dryers are one of the most energy-consuming appliances in your home (second to only the refrigerator). Even if you only cut your dryer use part-time, it will save you energy and money. When you do use your dryer, clean your lint filter regularly to ensure that your clothes dry as fast as possible. Also, some sources recommend ditching dryer sheets all together because they have harmful chemicals for the environment and for you.
- Buy Front Loading Washing Machines. These Energy Star machines, sometimes referred to as "horizontal axis" washers, use between 18 to 25 gallons of water per load. In traditional top loading washers, the machine uses about twice that amount of water.
- Use HE and Concentrated Detergents. Many detergents on the market now display the high efficiency symbol, which designates that they are compatible with HE machines. See this HE detergent chart here to see some popular options, or use ConsumerSearch to find out which brand might fit in best with your lifestyle. In addition, try to buy very concentrated detergents – they come in smaller containers that use less packaging resources and fuel when shipped, yet last you just as long as a less concentrated equivalent.
- Fill 'er Up! Whenever possible, wait to do your laundry until you have enough clothes to fill an entire load. In traditional machines, the same amount of energy and water will be used regardless of the amount of clothes, resulting in the wasted energy and water. If you need to do a smaller load, some newer washing machines have a "load size selector option" that uses less water for smaller amounts of laundry.
- Cold, cold, cold. Wash your clothes in cold water. As soon as you tell your machine to wash in hot, or even warm, water, your energy bill rises significantly. 90% of the energy used by a washing machine is caused by heating the water. To help encourage the use of cold water to wash your close, there are now detergents on the market made specifically for cold water washing, such as Tide Coldwater Detergent.