Building the Ultimate Green Kitchen

Using a dishwasher can save 5,000 gallons of water a year.

Some people have the impression that dishwashers are a waste of water. Not true. They actually use less water than washing by hand with a continuous stream, the way most people do. Energy Star estimates that making the switch to one of its approved dishwashers saves 5,000 gallons of water a year (and 230 hours of your time).

Other green dishwasher tips to keep in mind:

» Scrape, don’t rinse, the dishes before loading to save water. Today’s dishwashers and ecofriendly cleaners are designed to get the gunk off. If dishes sit overnight and you do need to rinse, do it with the dishwasher’s rinse cycle, which uses less water than if done by hand.

» Only run the dishwasher when it’s full. Most machines use the same amount of energy and water regardless of the size of the load. If your household is small, buy a compact model to avoid wasting water.

» Go for the ecofriendly options. Most dishwashers, Energy Star or not, have energy- and water-saving options—use them. And try an ecofriendly rinse agent on your dishes, so you don’t have to use the heated drying feature to get your glasses spot free.

Standard Size

Bosch Integra SHX98M09UC,
prices start at $1,549

This model from Bosch is the most energy-efficient dishwasher available in the United States, using 147 percent less energy than federal standards. There is a half-cycle load and a “Quickwash” option for lightly soiled dishes, which will cut back on water usage. Bosch is the only manufacturer that can boast that its entire appliance line is Energy Star–approved.

Standard Size

GE Profile with SmartDispense,
prices start at $949

The biggest draw of this GE dishwasher is its ability to store an entire 45-ounce bottle of liquid detergent and automatically dispense the right amount for each load. (Which also allows you to buy soap in bulk and reuse the container.)

Compact

Fisher & Paykel DishDrawer,
prices start at $600

This single-drawer dishwasher is a great choice for a small household, and its ergonomic design looks good too. Popular in Europe, these types of dishwashers resemble regular drawers, and save a ton of space. A second drawer can be added to the unit if your household grows.