Energy Star Dishwashers
A green home is one using as little energy as possible. The automatic dishwasher was invented as a convenient timesaver; even older units are typically more efficient at energy and water usage than hand-washing, but a new Energy Star model sends efficiency through the roof.
Selecting an Energy-Efficient Dishwasher
It's important to do your homework when shopping for a new dishwasher. Any model you choose needs to first of all do a good job of getting your dirty dishes clean. There are many amazing models that do so while using surprisingly little water and energy.
Energy Star Dishwashers
Any new dishwasher should always be Energy Star certified. This is your indicator that it meets MINIMAL federal standards for energy efficiency. All Energy Star dishwashers will feature the Energy Star logo prominently displayed on all labels, as well as the unit itself.
Most new dishwashers are much more efficient than older models. Energy Star models are at the top of the list for efficiency. Energy Star certified dishwashers are required to use 10% less energy than non-certified models. Choosing a new Energy Star model over a non-qualified model and you can cut your energy and water usage considerably.
It's important to note that Energy Star is a minimum requirement for efficiency compared with non-qualified models. Many dishwasher units go much further than the Energy Star requirements to offer even more efficiency and savings. You can easily identify the most efficient models by looking at the yellow EnergyGuide label that is required for all new appliances.
The EnergyGuide will have a scale to compare the estimated annual operating cost for similar models. Always try to choose a model with the lowest operating cost; it's EnergyGuide label will have an arrow as close to the left side of the scale as possible. The most efficient models will often be so efficient that its arrow is actually off the scale!
When to Replace an Older Dishwasher
Replacing an older dishwasher with a newer efficient model won't automatically save enough to pay for the new unit in a reasonable amount of time. But the older your current dishwasher is, the more energy and money you'll save with a new one.
Today's Energy Star dishwashers are required to use 5.8 gallons of water per cycle or less. Older dishwashers use much more water than newer models. A dishwasher purchased before 1994 uses more than 10 additional gallons of water in each cycle compared to a new ENERGY STAR qualified model.
You can increase energy and water savings by not pre-rinsing your dirty dishes. Pre-rinsing dishes before loading the dishwashers can use up to 20 gallons of water. ENERGY STAR qualified dishwashers and today's detergents are designed to do all the cleaning so you don't have to pre-rinse. Scrape your dishes, and load them in.If your dirty dishes are going to sit overnight, use your dishwasher's rinse feature. It uses a fraction of the water needed to hand rinse.
It's important to reiterate that washing dishes by hand uses much more water than using any dishwasher, Energy Star-rated or not. . Using an ENERGY STAR qualified dishwasher instead of hand washing can save you 5,000 or more gallons of water, $40 in utility costs, and 230 hours of your time.