Monday, November 2, 2009

Washing Machines to Be Subject to Energy-Efficiency Standards in California

Photo credit: celila.
Given that clothes washing machines use several resources, like water, electricity and (sometimes) natural gas, it's kind of surprising that no government agency has tried to set standards for their energy efficiency.

Until now.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the California Energy Commission has prevailed in a lengthy lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Energy enabling the commission to set efficiency standards for washing machines. The new standard could go into effect in 2013.

According to the L.A. Times, the average washing machine uses 39.2 gallons of water per wash. The proposed standard would reduce that average to 21.1 gallons per wash.

The California Energy Commission estimates that 12 to 15 years after the new standard takes effect, the state could save 66.7 billion gallons of water. That's enough water to supply a city the size of San Diego every year, the L.A. Times says.

Energy savings would follow, too. California would need 50 million fewer therms of natural gas and 500 fewer gigawatt-hours of electricity to heat and move water around in the new clothes washers.

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