BOSTON -- A consortium of 16 electric and gas utilities in New England has announced the official launch of the TumbleWash program. Participating utilities in Mass., Conn. and Vt. are working together in conjunction with the national Energy StarĘ program to promote awareness and use of high-efficiency, front-loading washing machines. Energy Star appliances are endorsed by the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency for meeting high standards of energy efficiency.
According to TumbleWash spokesperson Bruce Wall of the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership, "The program hinges on strong consumer, trade, and retail promotions. Advertising, public relations, and in-store sales promotion materials will drive the effort, bringing awareness of the many benefits of front-loading, or TumbleWash machines.
Television and print advertising breaks this month in Mass. and Conn., as well as national magazines. A comprehensive public relations program targets consumers in Mass., Conn., and Vt. through publicity, special events, and donations. Appliance dealers and retail stores who carry these energy efficient washing machines will be provided with point-of-purchase materials and mail-in rebate forms from participating utilities.
The program also targets professionals in the position to influence residential customers on the purchase of washing machines. These groups include apartment or condo managers, architects, home builders, health care executives, and interior designers. According to Wall, "Anywhere there's laundry, there should be a TumbleWash machine. They save the consumer money over the long term, and most importantly, they conserve our precious natural resources.
TumbleWash technology, or front-loading, horizontal-axis machines, has been available to American consumers from European manufacturers since the 1950s. In recent years, U.S. manufacturers such as Maytag and Frigidaire have introduced these energy-efficient washing machines as consumers demand more environmentally-friendly products. The utility consortium's goal is to increase consumer awareness and encourage the production and sale of environmentally-friendly appliances. The consortium's efforts tie in to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy's Energy Star program, a national initiative to promote the use of energy efficient appliances.
Industry statistics cite significant benefits of using a TumbleWash machine. These models are proven to use approximately 1/3 less water, 60 percent less energy and get clothes 25 percent cleaner than traditional top-loading models. They also use 30 to 50 percent less bleach and detergent, which reduces water pollution.* In a high-efficiency, TumbleWash machine, the high speed rotating action of the horizontal drum causes water to pass through the clothes. The drum holds 1/3 less water than a conventional top-loading washer. TumbleWashers are gentler on clothes because they are not churned by an agitator, according to manufacturers. A rapid spin-rate reduces drying time and energy, as clothes are wrung out more thoroughly. TumbleWashers also have a large capacity for bulky items and are sleekly styled for today's contemporary living spaces. Many TumbleWash models can be stacked or installed under a cabinet for efficiency in homes or apartments with limited space.
*Source: Department of Energy and Electric Power Research Institute. Savings calculated using an average conventional washer, and average water, sewer, and energy rates. Actual savings will vary depending on individual utility rates, model replaced, and usage.
TumbleWashers generally cost between $700 and $1,600. They are made by several manufacturers including Maytag, Frigidaire, General Electric, Asko, Creda, Miele, Gibson and Staber. For a complete list of manufacturers and retailers, call toll-free 1877-TumbleW (866-2539), or visit the TumbleWash web site at www.tumblewash.com.
TumbleWash is an energy efficiency program sponsored by the following participating electric and gas utilities:
Connecticut: The Connecticut Light and Power Company (a division of Northeast Utilities
Massachusetts: Bay State Gas Company
Boston Gas Company
COM/Electric (a division of COM/Energy)
Eastern Edison (a division of Eastern Utilities)
Unitil/Fitchburg Gas and Electric
(subsidiaries of the NEES companies)
Western Massachusetts Electric
(a division of Northeast Utilities)
Vermont:Burlington Electric Dept.
Central Vermont Public Service Corp.
Citizens Utilities Company
Green Mountain Power
Vermont Electric Cooperative
Vermont Marble Power Division
For more information about the TumbleWash program, contact Linda Russo at 813/274-1895.
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