Saving money with Low Energy Washing Machines
Most washing machines run more than 250 cycles in a year! Hence, this is one home appliance that needs to be energy efficient in order to prevent power bills from soaring.
Washing machines represent a large and growing market globally and significant research has been conducted in improving the energy and water requirements of washing machines. In a latest development in this arena, researchers at UK’s Leeds University claimed to have developed a “virtually waterless” washing machine. The technology is to be commercialized by Xeros, a University of Leeds spin-out. IP Group, the University of Leed’s commercialization partner, has contributed a £500,000 investment towards this technology. The new technology uses reusable plastic chips and a cup of water to clean clothes. The plastic chips can be used for up to 100 wash cycles. Moreover, clothes being cleaned by the “virtually waterless” washing machine would not need any tumble drying. Xeros claims that the new system of cleaning clothes uses “less than 2% of the water and energy of a conventional washing machine.” Washing machines built on this technology are expected to hit the UK market by 2009. The UK washing machine market alone is valued at approximately £1 billion. According to UK-based NGO Waterwise, washing machine use has surged by 23% in the last 15 years.
Till the time the new technology is launched, there are several energy and water efficient options available that are recommended by various government agencies across the world. For instance, the European Community Energy Label rates different models according to their efficiency, while US-based Energy Star certifies energy saving home appliances. The energy efficient options can potentially reduce energy bills by $50 per annum and save 7,000 gallons of water, according to Energy Star.
In general, a front-load washing machine consumes less water and electricity than a top loader. Washing machines may have an energy saving mode, which consumes less energy. One could also save energy by using cold, instead of hot, water for washing clothes and running full loads less frequently, rather than partial loads more frequently.