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Make a Clean Change with Energy Star

Lani MacRae is the Energy Star communications manager for the U.S. Department of Energy. 

In my last blog, I recommended that refrigerator and freezer retailers point out to customers how much it costs to operate an old unit. The costs are surprisingly high. (The operating cost of a refrigerator or freezer manufactured before 1993 is more than double that of a new Energy Star-qualified model; fridges and freezers from the 1970s cost four times more.)

For clothes-washer retailers looking for new ways to move product, the same point applies.

Compared to a new Energy Star qualified model, a pre-1999 machine uses 30 more gallons of water with each load of laundry – enough water for two showers. An old unit also costs $145 more in electricity and water every year. Over the life of a new Energy Star-qualified washer, your customers will save enough money in operating costs to pay for the matching dryer.

To promote the enormous savings opportunities, the U.S. Department of Energy has launched the Energy Star “Make a Clean Change” campaign, which encourages consumers to retire their old washers and replace them with Energy Star-qualified models. The campaign gives retailer partners tools to compare new models to older ones.

The campaign Web site,, features a clothes-washer calculator to help consumers determine costs and savings. Energy Star’s fun facts, case studies, sample newsletter article and campaign images are available for Energy STar partners to use in your marketing materials. Download the slide-rule calculator for sales staff to use on the showroom floor. And up-to-date information on rebates and tax incentives will help you guide buyers to all the savings opportunities.

Although most clothes washers are recycled, some still end up in landfills. So if your store does not recycle appliances, visit the Web site to help your customers find a recycling facility in their area.