This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

September 17, 2002

Kansas Town Demonstrates Water and Energy Savings with Washers

Nearly every resident of the small, rural town of Bern, Kansas, can probably talk your ear off about the energy- and water-saving features of front-loading horizontal-axis washing machines. This unlikely fact is due to a 1997 study in which Maytag donated 103 of its Neptune washers to the town. The performance of the Energy Star-rated washers was measured by DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory in a five-month study that analyzed data from 20,000 loads of wash comprising nearly 70 tons of laundry. The result: on average, the new machines used 56 percent less energy and 38 percent less water than the machines they replaced.

That study may have helped gain acceptance for the Neptune and other similar Energy Star-qualified washers. Since 1997, the percentage of Energy Star washers sold in the United States has increased from 3.74 percent of all washer sales to 16.7 percent. But there's no need to tell that to the residents of Bern: every year, their washers save enough energy to light every house in town for six weeks and enough water to fill the town's water tank 17 times. See the DOE press release.