KBB - September 2009 - (Page 12)

T rends Green Machines Today’s laundry systems do it all, but efficiency is king For those in the market for a new washer and dryer, cleaning ability used to be the key consideration in choosing the perfect pair. Nowadays, however, consumers are demanding more from their laundry systems, including greater capacity, more features, a splash of style and, of course, increased efficiency. In fact, most manufacturers will tell you that of all the factors that drive laundry purchases today, energy efficiency has come out on top. Surprised? Well, don’t be. Given the economic downturn, consumers are penny-pinching where they can and, as Jim Skaggs, marketing manager—Clothes Care at GE, noted, higher-efficiency washers can reduce energy bills by as much as 60 to 70 percent. Add to that the rebates available in some parts of the country to buy these units, and opting for an eco-friendlier washer and dryer seems like a no-brainer, yielding savings not only in the long run but also in upfront costs. Dean Brindle, product line manager, Fabric Care, Electrolux Major Appliances, said, “In Southern California, you could get up to a $250 rebate on a unit that at retail may only cost $600.” The savings are considerable, but consumers who want to go greener would do better with a front-load design. According to Brindle, the latter is consistently ranked higher by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE), which categorizes washers into three performance tiers, with Tier 3 being the most efficient. While few top-loaders rate above Tier 2, “almost every one of today’s front-load washers is a Tier 3,” he noted. SMARTER, ROOMIER & FASTER So how do they do it? Much of the “magic” can be attributed to sensor technology that has made our laundry systems not only more efficient, but also more intelligent. They measure soil level and moisture, dispense detergent and adjust water temperature and amount based on science—not guesswork. Some also offer an extensive program of stain removal settings that activate with a simple push of the button, and Bosch’s AquaStop system detects and prevents leaks from damaging floors, said Chris Shanley, marketing manager of laundry at Bosch. Efficiency, however, takes many forms. Expanded capacity (always of interest to consumers) and shorter wash and dry cycles, for example, can mean fewer loads and less time spent doing laundry. Currently, the largest top-loaders boast a capacity of 5 cu. ft., while front-load models top out at 4.7 cu. ft. with 5 cu. ft. on the horizon, said Skaggs. For those on the run, some laundry pairs can wash and dry a light load in a little more than 30 minutes, and steam in the dryer, a popular feature, can remove odors and wrinkles from gently worn clothing in under 20 minutes. But what of the future? According to most industry experts, efficiency will continue to be the focus. While many of today’s laundry systems already exceed Energy Star standards, the proverbial goal posts will keep shifting, creating a win-win for us and the planet. s —Alice Liao TOP DESIGN To make the decision easier, manufacturers have upped the efficiency of not only front-load washers, but also their top-load counterparts, which, priced lower, have long dominated the U.S. market and continue to do so. Whereas your grandparents’ top-loader may have required 42 gallons of water per cycle, today’s high-efficiency versions can clean with just 18 gallons, thanks to such developments as the use of a smaller (or no) agitator and changes in how clothes are moved during wash cycles, noted Monica Teague, senior manager of PR at Whirlpool and Maytag. In addition, faster spin speeds of more than 1,000 rpm mean less time in the dryer, which also cuts down on energy usage. + K BB September July 2004 2009 / www.kbbonline.com / The Official Sponsor of K/BIS www.kbis.com http://www.kbbonline.com http://www.kbis.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of KBB - September 2009

KBB - September 2009
Contents
Online Contents
Online News
Publisher's Note
Trends
Products
Profile
Design
Fine Balance
Something Old, Something New
Education
Editorial Index
Ad Index
Favorites

KBB - September 2009

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