First they came after your toilets.
Then they came after your light bulbs.
Now they’re after your dishwasher.
Federal regulators never rest, do they?
It’s not enough that they mandated that toilets use so little water per flush that it often takes two, three, or more flushes to get rid of—well, you know.
It’s not enough that they mandated compact fluorescent light bulbs that give so little light that it’s difficult, especially for older folks (like me!), to read by it.
Now the U.S. Department of Energy has proposed a new rule (Go ahead and read it. It’s only 41,000 words/46 pages long.) that would limit your dishwasher to 3.1 gallons of water per load.
No, no, don’t jump to conclusions here. You’d think the Department of Energy had no business regulating water use. But it figures reducing the amount of water used results in lower energy consumption, too. (Of course, you might find it difficult to find regulation of either energy or water consumption among the enumerated powers of the federal government according to the Constitution, but who cares about that dusty old document anymore?)
So what’s wrong with the proposed regulation? Why not save some water?
Two major dishwasher manufacturers—GE Appliances & Lighting and Whirlpool—modified some of their dishwashers to comply with the regulations, and then tested them.
“They found some stuff that was pretty disgusting,” [Rob] McAver [of the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers] said.
McAver brought DOE officials to his office recently to show them the results and released photos of it publicly this week.
He’s hoping that the disgusted reactions to the tests will spur DOE to go back to the drawing board for the standards and work more closely with the industry this time.
“The poor performance that would result would totally undercut and go backwards in terms of energy and water use, because of the need for running the dishwasher again, or pre-rinsing or hand-washing, which uses a lot of water,” he said.
McAver suspects the DOE is pushing the rules to try and meet President Obama’s greenhouse gas emissions goals under the Climate Action Plan, his second-term climate change initiative.
And while appliance makers are willing to work with the administration, they don’t want that to come at the expense of effective products.
If this new regulation goes into effect, we’ll all be doing more pre-rinsing and double washing, using more water, not less—just as we do when we have to double flush or, worse, plunge and flush repeatedly.
There comes a time when regulations bump up against the law of diminishing returns. Perhaps that time has come with regard to regulating how much energy and water dishwashers use.
It’s certainly come regarding regulations to reduce greenhouse gases (part of the justification for this new proposed rule). For instance, full compliance with the Obama Administration’s “Clean Power Plan” would cost hundreds of billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of jobs but would, even according to the Environmental Protection Agency, reduce global average temperature by an undetectable two hundredths of a degree at the end of this century.
Isn’t it time to put a stop to such madness?
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Featured image courtesy of Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM).