Saving water and energy with my new clothes washer!

After careful research and a lot of shopping, my new high efficiency clothes washer arrived a few short weeks ago. As a result my family’s typical water use has already dropped.Pam's New Clothes Washer

The average American family washes almost 400 loads of laundry each year — my family of four is no exception. As part of my work on HRWC’s Saving Water Saves Energy Project, I learned that I could cut my related energy costs by about a third – and my water costs by more than half – just by purchasing a clothes washer with the ENERGY STAR label.

Over the life of my new ENERGY STAR qualified washer, I’m hoping to save enough money in operating costs (Energy Star estimates $135 annually) to pay for the matching dryer. With my water savings, I could fill three backyard swimming pools.

Even more significant — my previous washer was over 10-years old. Yes, I admit here publicly that it came with our house when we moved in back in 1999. No telling how old that washer was. I estimate that it took at least 15 gallons of water just to fill it.

The lesson for you shoppers out there, choose a model with a high Modified Energy Factor (MEF) and a low Water Factor (WF).

Modified Energy Factor (MEF) is a measure of energy efficiency that considers the energy used by the washer, the energy used to heat the water, and the energy used to run the dryer. The higher the MEF, the more energy efficient the clothes washer. Water Factor (WF) measures water efficiency in gallons of water consumed per cubic foot of capacity. The lower the WF, the more water efficient the clothes washer. Both MEF and WF are listed on the ENERGY STAR qualified product list. Starting in January 2011 Energy Star washers mucst have an MEF of 2.0 or greater and a WF of 6.0 or lower.

My new model has an MEF of 2.88; and a WF of 3.5 (not the highest MEF or the lowest WF, but definitely a vast improvement over my previous model and pretty darn efficient for what’s out there). At about 4 cubic feet, my new washer uses only 15 gallons of water per load.

I try to follow the Saving Water Saves Energy Tips and only wash full loads. I also tend to use mostly cold wash and cold rinse cycles so I save even more energy.