The city of Davis continues to lead the way in environmental preservation.
The Davis City Council approved a resolution extending the regional PG&E clothes washer rebate program for Davis residents through the 2010 calendar year at the Feb. 2 council meeting. Under this agreement, Davis residents who purchase eligible Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) Tier 3 high-efficiency washing machines will receive a $100 dollar rebate – $50 from PG&E and $50 from the water agency.
The city implemented a clothes washer rebate program in 1996 and has issued over 2,000 rebates to Davis customers to date.
Jacques DeBra, city of Davis utilities manager, said this has been a successful program.
“The program has had very good luck in Davis. There has been steady demand and interest from customers,” DeBra said.
Purchasing a high-efficiency washing machine results in significant water and energy savings, said Brian Swanson, PG&E spokesperson. New high-efficiency washing machines use 50 percent less water and energy.
Washing clothes accounts for more than 20 percent of water usage in the home. While conventional washing machines use above 50 gallons of water per cycle, most full-sized high-efficiency clothes washers use 18 to 25 gallons of water per load, he said.
High-efficiency washing machines save 7,000 gallons of water per year for one house, DeBra said. This reduces water flow to the sewer by 7,000 gallons as well, resulting in lower water and sewage bills.
The machines also reduce natural gas usage because they require less hot water.
Jack Stevens, sales manager at Pearson’s Appliance and TV in Woodland, said high-efficiency washing machines are worth the additonal cost.
Although high-efficiency washing machines cost about $250 more than conventional washers, they offer plenty of long-term savings. Pearson’s was selling more high-efficiency washers, but sales have dropped as a result of the economy, Stevens said.
Most front-loading washing machines, including Whirlpool, Maytag and General Electric models, are designated as Tier 3 products.
Customers are reluctant to spend more on a high-efficiency machine initially, but reap the benefits of owning one later, Stevens added.
Customers save 15 to 20 cents per dryer load on electric bills because high-efficiency washers have faster spin cycles. The average spin cycle of a high-efficiency washer is 1,000 to 1,200 revolutions per minute (rpm), whereas a normal washer averages 400 to 450 rpm. Therefore, clothes are initially drier upon exiting the high-efficiency machine.
Purchasing a front-loader has tremendous benefits. They reduce energy consumption and water usage while increasing efficiency. Using a front-loader produces less wear and tear on dryers and clothes as a result of less drying time, Stevens said.
Tier 3 clothes washers are available at any appliance retailer, Swanson said. Such products are marked with Energy Star labels and PG&E rebate stickers.
“The more efficient model you buy, the more money in rebate you will get. You will save more on energy bills with high energy-efficiency appliances,” Swanson said.
The list of qualifying CEE high-efficiency clothes washers is available at waterenergysavings.com.
THERESA MONGELLUZZO can be reached at email@example.com.