Dishwashers: Less Hot Water Equals Less Energy Use
• The Energy Star label. Energy Star- qualified dishwashers are at least 41% more energy efficient than the federal minimum. Keep in mind that some models exceed the standard significantly more than others; check the EnergyGuide label or the list of qualifying dishwashers at www. energystar. gov for high-performing machines.
• Soil sensing. With this technology, "fuzzy logic" is used to determine how dirty the dishes are. Water use and wash cycle are adjusted accordingly, saving significant water and energy.
• No-heat drying. Most dishwashers have an electric heating element and fan for drying dishes. Make sure the one you buy has a no-heat drying option, which can save a significant amount of energy.
• Insulate hot-water pipes from the water heater so that water stays hot all the way to the dishwasher and doesn’t cool off as much between the different wash and rinse cycles.
• Wash full loads only, even if it means waiting a day or two.
• Avoid high-temperature cycles. Many dishwashers have a setting for more intensive cleaning in which the temperature is boosted, which can significantly increase electricity use per cycle. To conserve energy, don’t use this setting.
Alex Wilson is founder and executive editor of Environmental Building News and president of BuildingGreen Inc. in Brattleboro, Vt. (wwwbuildinggreen. com). His latest book is Your Green Home (New Society Publishers, 2006).