U.S. Water News Online
BOSTON -- The Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE), a non-profit organization that encourages widespread adoption of super-efficient products, is urging utilities to participate in a national initiative to promote high-efficiency residential clothes washers.
Created in 1991, CEE now has 47 members, including regional and local utilities, utility research organizations, and energy and environmental groups, as well as the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which serve as special advisors. CEE establishes partnerships with utilities by providing them with programs featuring market research, savings estimates, and product specifications.
Clothes washers meeting specifications set by CEE will use up to 50 percent less energy and up to a third less water relative to most other new washers. Savings are greatest in comparison to washers sold before 1994.
Manufacturer and independent tests have found that highly efficient clothes washers generally get clothes cleaner, rinse more thoroughly, treat clothes more gently, and save space while meeting consumers' demands for convenience and dependability. Although these clothes washers tend to be more expensive than conventional washers, according to the CEE, the difference is more than made up in energy and water savings.
Utilities serving close to 10 percent of the nation's customers plan to participate in CEE's clothes washer initiative by offering incentives and rebates and sponsoring educational and promotional campaigns.
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) recently formed a partnership with California water agencies to offer rebates to customers who purchase highly-efficient clothes washers. "Participation in the initiative has been a win-win situation for everyone involved," said Brad Wilson, senior product manager of PG&E. "In a dry environment such as California, we need to conserve our water resources. The partnership with CEE has enabled us to help our customers save water, gas, and electricity, which, in turn, benefits us and the state as a whole. It has also prompted manufacturers to sell their products in our market place, which is a big plus to all consumers."
Three major U.S. manufacturers recently announced plans to produce highly-efficient clothes washers. Maytag and Frigidaire will begin selling the new clothes washers within the next year. Whirlpool also has plans to produce a highly-efficient washer. Three European manufacturers, Asko, Miele, and Creda are currently selling washers that meet CEE specifications.
Return to the U.S. Water News Archives page
Return to the U.S. Water News Homepage