Posts

Looking back on 2015. Looking forward to 2016

2015 marked a year of changes in the energy sector. There continued to be a shift away from traditional sources of energy like coal toward natural gas and renewables like solar and wind. The Washington Post identified several factors that made 2015 a transformative year for energy. They include:

• A turn away from coal
• The maturation of wind and solar
• The launch of global and domestic climate policy
• Drastically low oil and natural gas prices

A Mixed Forecast for 2016

Our friends at ACEEE, a national non-profit for energy efficiency, also provided their thoughts on 2015 and what 2016 might hold in store. They see the continued growth of energy efficiency programs at the state and local level as one of the year’s major bright spots. Unfortunately, despite the numerous benefits these programs provide, they continue to face opposition from utilities and political groups.

At the federal level, energy policy is one of the few issues that members on both sides of the aisle can agree. Congress passed some modest energy legislation early in 2015 and an extension of the solar tax credit at the end of the year. Congress will continue to focus on energy issues during 2016 as it works to pass the first comprehensive energy legislation in nearly a decade .

Dishwashers vs. Sinks!

Can you wash 8 full place settings of dishes with only 2 minutes of running water?

We were recently inspired to reconsider our dishwashing practices by an article in The Washington Post entitled, “Why you shouldn’t wash your dishes by hand”. The article challenges a common perception that hand washing saves energy and water.

Here’s the big picture:

  • modern dishwashers are optimized for efficient water and energy use
  • are able to save 230 hrs (10 days) annually that would otherwise be spent hand washing
  • are very effective at cleaning
  • are able to sanitize dishes with 140 degree water

Graphic_Websiet_Post_Dishwasher-vs-Sink_No-Sink

“Scrape, Don’t Rinse”

According to the article, the most egregious water waste commonly occurs when dishes are pre-rinsed with continually running water before they go into a dishwasher. Modern dishwashers are more than capable of cleaning residue on eating-ware, so simply scraping dishes can adequately prepare them for washing.

If the article’s recommendations aren’t enough to convince you, it provides a number of other consumer and efficiency-minded organizations that have also weighed in on the scraping-versus-rinsing debate and the role of the modern efficient dishwasher:

Graphic_Websiet_Post_Dishwasher-vs-Sink_No-Dishwasher

The Clear Loser: Old Dishwashers

The Post concedes that while the most frugal and strategic of hand washers might be able to compete with modern dishwashers, older models finish last place concerning energy and water efficiency. Combine an inefficient dishwashing machine with in-sink pre-rinsing, and the problem is compounded.

The Natural Resources Defense Council reports that a dishwasher from 1991 uses up to 3-5 times more water and 1-2 times more energy than modern efficient models. Paired with an estimated 20 gallons of water wasted annually from pre-rinsing, an appliance update starts looking worthwhile.

Update and Save Energy, Water, Effort, and Money

Even if you don’t agree that it’s better to use a modern dishwasher than to hand wash, the main takeaway should be that an old dishwasher is costly. Like most energy efficiency measures, an investment in an ENERGY STAR certified machine pays back through energy, water, and time savings.

ENERGY STAR has an array of resources on its website that provide a potential buyer with everything they need to make a wise purchase:

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact us either online, or by phone (513-621-4232), and we will be happy to talk with you.