Dishwashers made their big debut in US kitchens during the 1970's, just as 'environmentalism' became a major force. And they were well on their way to becoming an everyday appliance just as the first big oil price shock, a.k.a the "Arab Oil Embargo of 1973", hit. Those few of you who actually were around for that experience may recall a very noisy, relatively unreliable, cramped and ugly dishwasher wedged next to the sink. And we'll bet it consumed prodigious amounts of water, electricity, and cleaning products per load. Thirty five years later (a span of roughly three dishwasher design lives), we face a vastly more important world wide oil shock, while environmentalism, feminism, and the whole raft of related movements that began in the US during the 1970's, are relegated to the shadows of US public policy making, but getting attention in Europe and Asia. Dishwashers, not surprisingly, are the focus of significant new innovation that should apeal to TreeHuggers. With severe drought in it's 4th year in several Western US states, and lingering across the US Southeast and with the added burden of soaring electrical bills nationally, resource efficiency is back on the design stage
. "Ladies and Gentlemen
", as Ed Sullivan would have said back in the 1970's, 'Live on our Blog, [pause] TreeHugger presents a really big shoe. Please welcome GE's new SmartDispense technology, part of that "eco-imagination" thing
'.From the GE website: "Most unique is the dishwasher's ability to hold an entire 45 oz. bottle of liquid or gel dishwasher detergent and dispense just the right amount for each wash. Detergent amounts are determined based on water hardness in the home, which consumers measure with a water-hardness testing kit that comes with the product, soil level of dishes, and cycle selection. The detergent is automatically dispensed and lasts the average consumer two months
: the profile makes it possible to buy soap in bulk and expend only what's needed from a bulk re-fill, which eliminates the "if a little is good more is better" tendency toward overconsumtion of cleaning products. We're not there yet, but 4 design-lives later, there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Keep hoping for the 7'th generation TreeHuggers.
Also: "A new optimized hydraulic system in the GE Profile uses less water while maintaining water velocity and pressure. Cycles have been optimized for the best wash/dry performance at the lowest energy usage. A reduced pump prime requires less water while the smart fill/cavitation sensing selects the appropriate water fill amount". Translation: reduced water consumption per load. Now add a greywater diversion valve to the toilet and we're almost there.
Here's the money cite: "...if all Americans used a GE Profile Dishwasher with SmartDispense technology, over 15.5 billion gallons of water a year would be saved - enough to fill more than 20,000 Olympic-sized pools".
Other features of the GE Profile (paraphrased and abbreviated from the original text):
* 'Noise level of 47 decibels (dBA)'.
* Has 'Single Rack Wash™ selection, which cleans up to five place settings in the upper rack by using only the top and middle wash arms, conserving water, energy...'
* 'CleanSensor™ technology, which continually monitors water temperature, soil levels and the dish load...'.
Big picture now. Why is this important? In the parlance of sustainability the GE Profile has "spread". Anybody in the market for a new dishwasher will likely encounter it, and it's not priced to compete with the elete imports, so the average person can contemplate it's purchase. That means "mainstreaming" can happen in a few years, just as it has with the hybrid propulsion after introduction of the Prius.