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The laundry is an essential part of any households – it also happens to be an easy place to start when trying to go green. Knowing how to manage your laundry properly can help you significantly reduce electricity consumption, decrease greenhouse contribution and save on costs down the line.

When buying a new washer…

A washing machine is a long-term investment. It is going to be used every week and can last more than a decade. So, it is vital that you make the right decision and get one that leads to the most efficiency while suiting your needs. Here are some tips on how to choose the washer that will suit you most.

1. Choose a front loader

In general, front loaders are more energy efficient and consumes less resources than a top loader due to their design. They use less water, less detergent and less electricity for hot washes.

Although the initial cost is more, front loaders make up for it in the long run due to their efficiency.

2. Choose washing machines with higher star ratings

When choosing a new washing machine, the easiest place to look first is the energy efficiency rating. It’s simple. More stars mean a more energy efficient machine. In fact, each star adds about 25% more energy efficiency. This means the cost to run it greatly reduces the more stars it has.

This means,

A 1 star machine consumes 378kWh of electricity per year for warm washes. The washer will cost $104 to run that year.

A 3.5 star machine of same size uses 146kWh of electricity per year. The more energy efficient washer costs will only cost $40 to run­­. [1]

If you want to find the running cost of a particular model, multiply the Kwh number on the label with your electricity tariff at home.

3. Choose the right connections

It’s better to use cold washes, but if you are using warm washes, choose a machine with both hot and cold water connection. This allows you to use hot water from the home hot water system to heat up the water, which is usually more efficient than using the heating element in the washer itself.

It also allows you to connect the solar thermal hot water system for warm washes, if you have one at home.

4. Choose the right features

Manufacturers have introduced many new technology and functions into their washing machines. It can be confusing to know which one will benefit you, so we narrowed the list down on key things to look for.

  • Cold wash function: Cold washes can save more than 80% on energy consumption, since most of the energy used actually goes into heating up the water.
  • Load sensing technology: Those with load sensing technology can adjust the amount of water to your load size and lets you save on water consumption.
  • Eco mode: Many machines also come with an eco-friendly mode which consumes less energy and water.
  • Delay or programmable timer: try to choose machines with timers, so you can start washing when your electricity tariff is cheaper. You can also use it to soak clothes before washing them. More on this later.

 
What you can do at home…

By making simple changes to your laundry habits, you can greatly reduce your energy consumption and save money as you go. Here are some things you should do to make your laundry more efficient at home.

1. Wash with a cold cycle

This is the easiest way to reduce electricity use, regardless of kind of washing machine you have. Washing with a cold cycle can save you more than 80% of your energy consumption and cost. This is because most of the energy is used just to heat up the water in warm washes.


Lets compare[2],

A machine uses 400 kWh for hot and 66 kWh for cold washes per year

Electricity cost per year with hot washes: $110

Electricity cost per year with cold washes: $18.15

Cold washes are just as clean as warm washes in most situation. Just remember to choose the right detergent when using cold washes, because some detergents don’t work well in cold water.

2. Wash with a full load

Your washing machine will use the same amount of energy whether you wash one pair of boxers or a full load of laundry.

3. Wash with eco-friendly settings

Many washing machine come with an eco-mode that uses less energy and water than a regular mode. This is best for clothes that aren’t too dirty or stained.

4. Wash during the right time of day

This is where the timer function comes in handy. Some households are charged more for electricity during ‘peak hours’. Find out what your peak hours are and time washes for ‘off peak’ or ‘shoulder’ hours of the day.

This also gives your clothes a chance to soak and be treated before the wash which means you don’t have to do a second wash because stains aren’t washed off.

5. Air dry your clothes

If possible, choose to air dry your clothes rather than drying with a machine to save on electricity consumption. Front loaders have an advantage because of their faster spin cycle. This means much of the water is already spun off by the time the cycle finishes.

 

If you are interested in gaining more insight and control into your household energy consumption, take a look at carbonTRACK today. 

 

 

 

Sources:

http://www.energyrating.gov.au/products/clothes-washers

http://www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/services-and-advice/households/energy-efficiency/at-home/appliances/washing-machines

http://www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/services-and-advice/households/energy-efficiency/at-home/appliances/washing-machines

[1] Based on a medium sized, top-loader washing machine with 3 warm washes per week on 27.5c electricity tariff
[2] Based on 27.5c electricity tariff, with 3 washes per week

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