A typical family will wash over 400 loads of a laundry per year. An eco friendly washing machine can help you save significant money on your utility bills while helping the environment.
For 2006, the most recent year of analysis, the Canadian Government estimated the typical clothes washer consumes 63 kilowatt hours per year. A new eco friendly clothes washer consumes only 31 kilowatt hours per year. In 1990, the average Canadian washing machine consumed 106 kilowatt hours per year. It is important to note, these numbers do not take into account the water required to run the machine or the cost of heating that water. Depending on the type of washing machine being used, up to 95% of the total energy use of the machine can go to heating the water!
Whether are not you purchase an eco friendly washing machine, start your research by comparing the EnerGuide label of different washers.
What is the EnerGuide Label?
The EnerGuide label is an initiative of the Canadian Government that allows the consumer to compare the energy efficiency and consumption levels of everyday items including personal vehicles, new houses, heating and cooling equipment and major appliances, including clothes washers. By law, the EnergGuide label must be placed on all new electrical appliances manufactured or imported into Canada.
The EnerGuide label provides useful information such as:
- average annual energy consumption of that appliance in kilowatt hours (kWh)
- annual energy consumption range for similar type and size models
- energy efficiency of the appliance relative to similar models
- the type and size of the model
If you are in the market for an eco friendly washing machine, a great starting point is an Energy Star clothes washer.
What is Energy Star?
Energy Star is an international symbol of energy efficiency. In Canada, Energy Star is administered by Natural Resources Canada’s Office of Energy Efficiency. In order for a product to be classified as part of the Energy Star program it must meet and exceed minimum Canadian federal energy efficiency standards according to a prescribed performance level for each product area. In simple terms, Energy Star products are the most efficient in their class.
Energy Star Clothes Washers
Energy Star washing machines have sensors that prevent energy waste by matching the water needs to the size of each load. They also have advanced high speed motors that shorten the length of spin cycles and remove more water from the clothes resulting in less energy being required to dry the clothes.
Energy Star clothes washers come in both top and front-loading designs, they come in a variety of load capacities and have all the usual features you are accustomed to.
Front loading washing machines versus top loading machines
Front loading washing machines offer significant benefits and cost savings compared to traditional top loading washers and are the most eco friendly washing machine design available in the market.
- It is estimated a front loading machine uses 40% to 75% less water & 30% to 85% less energy than a top loading machine
- As there is no central agitator in a front loading machine, they are better suited to wash large items such as blankets and sleeping bags
- Front loading machines have faster spin speeds resulting in clothes requiring less time in the dryer
- There is less wear and tear on clothes because there is no central agitator
Click here for Information on Energy Star Washing Machines
Best Usage Practices
- rinse your clothes in cold water! Your clothes will come out just as clean and you will save money on your water heating bill
- wash your clothes in warm water instead of hot water
- there are detergents specially formulated to work in cold water… Look to wash and rinse your clothes in cold water only
- if your machine has a water level setting make sure you use it and choose the correct setting for the size of the load you are running
- if you have a front loading washing machine use a high efficiency detergent. Front loading washers use less water than traditional washing machines and require a special detergent that creates fewer suds to ensure the laundry and machine can be rinsed clean
- Whenever possible, place your washing machine as close as possible to your water heater. You will experience heat loss the longer the connecting pipes are between your machine and your hot water heater. Wrap your exposed pipes with insulation to minimize the heat loss
- If you have extra dirty clothes, use the pre-soak cycle instead of washing the same clothes twice
- Try and run a full load whenever possible. A washing machines uses pretty much the same amount of energy regardless of the size of the load