Kenmore high-efficiency washer and dryer
Yesterday, our washing machine died after a relatively short life of only six and a half years. It's one of those newfangled front-loading machines. These new machines can really get clothes clean and they're great from an energy efficiency standpoint, but IMO they're much less reliable than the old-fashioned top-loaders of yesteryear. Our last top-loader gave us around 15 years without a service call before it died. Granted, my sample-size is small, but I'm beginning to wonder if the higher capital costs and replacement costs of these new designs negate all the efficiency savings benefits. Replacing your washer twice as often is expensive and can't be very environmentally friendly.
Anyhow, despite the fact that our old washer was energy efficient, I thought we might be able to benefit from the appliance rebate program that was part Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (stimulus bill). Some have called the program cash-for-appliance-clunkers. Unlike the auto cash-for-clunkers program, the appliance rebate program is administered by the states. Each state is allocated funds for the program ($1.2 million for NH) and submits an implementation plan to the US Dept. of Energy for approval.
Now the bad news - well for me anyway. New Hampshire decided to buck the national trend and try to be a bit innovative in their implementation of the appliance clunkers program. Instead of offering rebates for air conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines, and other appliances, New Hampshire's Office of Energy and Planning decided to target the rebates at home heating equipment and hot water heating systems (including solar-thermal). Their official press release notes that there's already a state rebate program for energy efficient appliances, so targeting these new rebates toward heating and hot-water applications will give New Hampshire a bigger bang for the buck, energy efficiency-wise.
On its face, the plan seems to make sense and it's always good to see New Hampshire leading rather than following the herd in terms of innovative state programs. I'll try not to be bitter that Uncle Sam won't be helping to buy us a new washing machine.
Hmmm. Come to think of it, maybe a new thermal-solar hot water system might be nice - as long as I can get some help paying for it, that is...