Can Your Dryer Be a STAR

Over the past two decades, clothes dryers have largely been left out of the energy-efficiency movement that revolutionized other household appliances like refrigerators, air conditioners and clothes washers.

But that all changed when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the arrival of ENERGY STAR certified clothes dryers at major retailers from a wide variety of manufacturers,

including Whirlpool, Maytag, Kenmore and LG. To qualify for the new ENERGY STAR label, dryers have to be at least 20 percent more efficient than conventional models.

“EPA’s ENERGY STAR-certified clothes dryers offer Americans an opportunity to save energy and combat climate change,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “The EPA created the program in 1992 with two goals in mind: make it easier for consumers to identify and purchase energy-efficient products that offer savings on energy bills without sacrificing performance, features and comfort; and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants caused by the inefficient use of energy.

Natural Gas — Superior Choice

Economics, performance and environmental value make ENERGY STAR-rated natural gas dryers a superior choice over alternative equipment. “In addition to convenience and speed, natural gas dryers save consumers money and help lower greenhouse gas emissions,” says Richard Meyer, manager, energy analysis & standards, American Gas Association.

The cost savings alone is significant. Depending on your utility, drying a load of laundry can cost between 32 to 41 cents in an electric dryer compared to 15 to 33 cents in a gas dryer, according to the

Consumer Energy Center.

In a recent analysis that compared energy use, operating costs, and carbon dioxide emissions of home appliances, a natural gas clothes dryer had the lowest operating costs and emissions compared with electric and propane models.

When comparing a gas dryer with an electric model, the gas dryer had 59 percent lower overall energy requirements, 63 percent lower carbon dioxide emissions, and costs 67 percent less to operate. “In other words, the gas dryer was one-third the cost and only one-third the energy and emissions, meaning great value for consumers,” Meyer said.

Natural gas dryers also dry clothes faster than electric dryers because a greater volume of dry, absorbent air passes through the clothes. The shorter drying time is gentler on fabrics.

Energy-Saving Features

Many new models of high-efficiency dryers offer a wide variety of money- and time-saving features, including sensor controls, pilot-less

ignitions, de-wrinkling cycles, and microcomputer-based temperature settings for sensitive fabrics. Their most important energy-saving feature is a moisture sensor that detects when clothes are dry and shuts off automatically.

Natural gas is the cleanest-burning fossil fuel, and nearly all of it is produced in North America. When you consider the cost savings, energy efficiency and environmentally-friendly benefits, gas dryers are clearly the smartest choice on the market today for savvy consumers.

This article, written by Lindsey Townsend, appears in the Spring/Summer issue of Natural Living.