Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Fraudulent Energy Rating:

When our old, old dishwasher died, we bought a new unit that had a very high energy rating. The new unit works almost as well as the old one, and I think I know why. The difference has to do with our infernal preoccupation with very high energy ratings, and what manufacturers do to achieve them.

I remember checking out advice at Consumer Reports about using dishwashers. They advise you that there's no point rinsing and scraping dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. The dishwasher can clean your dishes! What you're doing when you pre-clean is simply wasting water, a precious natural resource.

Our dishwasher came with two items of instruction that surprised me: They told us to pre-clean and rinse the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, and they advised getting the tap water hot before starting the dishwasher.

I think that this advice enables the manufacturer to make a dishwasher that uses less energy. Making us spend energy and natural resources to make life easier for the dishwasher doesn’t count in the energy rating, and that's unfair.

1 comment:

Ender said...

I can't tell you whether this is true for dishwashers, but I have a friend who's a mechanical engineer working for a consulting firm that develops the tests and metrics used for energy star ratings through the government. The ratings and tests he develops are based on 'normal usage' as well as they can define, not company-defined tests. I can't speak to whether it's true for dishwashers in particular though, he works on other appliances.