Trump Administration Wants to Ditch Energy-Efficient Dishwashers

The Trump Administration announced its intention to roll back yet another climate change efficiency standard — this one for dishwashers as a result of a petition by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a well-known climate skeptic.  The Hill reported that the Energy Department is planning to allow faster-cleaning dishwashers that do not comply with current energy efficiency standards, which will overturn years of progress on making these appliances energy efficient.

Why This Matters:  Many Americans will give thanks on Thursday for their dishwashers. And most do not object to the time it takes for them to operate – they just want clean, safe dishes.  The new rule would exempt new dishwashers from the prior energy efficiency standards — and that is a big number.  For example, this year, there were nearly 9 million dishwashers sold in the U.S.  The new standards would also waive the water efficiency requirements as well.  The proposal would hurt consumers who will spend more on electricity and water for the new machines.  There would be a big difference in savings — the energy-efficient dishwashers of today use roughly half the water and energy of their counterparts of 20 years ago, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The CEI Arguments Rebutted

First, the CEI and DOE argue that the current energy-efficient dishwashers’ quick cycles are designed only for lightly soiled dishes.  Environmental and consumer groups argue that today’s dishwashers have built-in sensors that detect how dirty plates are, ensuring dishwashers take only as long as they need to get your dishes clean.

Second, CEI and DOE argue that it is only energy efficiency that has slowed dishwasher run times.  But the environmental and consumer groups claim that a variety of factors has slowed down the wash cycle, including new types of detergents and consumer preference for quieter dishwashers that spray water at dishes with less pressure.

Should You Wash By Hand?

Don’t stress!  The conventional wisdom according to  is that dishwashers beat hand-washing dishes, hands down, so to speak. By the numbers, according to one study at the University of Bonn in Germany, the dishwasher uses only half the energy, one-sixth of the water, and less soap, to boot.

To Go Deeper:  Check out Treehugger’s detailed analysis, which explains that while “it’s possible to be more efficient when hand-washing, but it’s pretty tough.”

Up Next

Arizona’s Largest Utility Commits To Be Carbon-Free By 2050

Arizona’s Largest Utility Commits To Be Carbon-Free By 2050

In a surprising turn around, Arizona Public Service (APS) pledged on Wednesday to achieve carbon-free (not just neutral) power by 2050, with an interim target of 65 percent clean electricity by 2030, and by 2031 APS will achieve 45 percent renewable energy as well as close its coal power plants.  Ironically, in 2018, APS spent nearly $40 million dollars to defeat a ballot initiative to switch to renewables in the same time frame that Democratic Presidential candidate Tom Steyer’s organization NextGen America was working to get passed, according to The Washington Post.


Continue Reading 434 words
One Cool Thing: The First Electric Plane Flight

One Cool Thing: The First Electric Plane Flight

Forget biofuels for aviation.  A small Canadian airline, Harbour Air, made a huge leap forward earlier this month by making the first commercial airline flight powered by an electric engine.  It only remained in the air for a few minutes but that was long enough for the 63-year-old seaplane to claim this important first.  The […]

Continue Reading 116 words
New Poll Explains Consumer Reluctance To Buy EVs

New Poll Explains Consumer Reluctance To Buy EVs

According to a new Ipsos poll, Americans want to take individual actions to combat climate change, but only 30% were willing to buy an electric vehicle.  According to a larger global survey on battery electric vehicles (BEVs), the reasons for the lack of consumer uptake were concerns about the higher cost of BEVs, their limited […]

Continue Reading 402 words