How can I find a dishwasher that is energy-efficient or "green"?
Dishwashers are among the appliances that are regulated by government energy standards. Here's what to look for:
Energy Star label: Qualified dishwashers use at least 41 percent less energy than the federal minimum standard for energy consumption, according to the Energy Star Web site. That translates to about 4 gallons per cycle versus nonqualified dishwashers that use 6 gallons a cycle.
Scrape don't rinse: If you really want to save energy, don't prerinse dishes before loading them, which can waste up to additional 20 gallons of water according to Energy Star. Also avoid half-load cycles, which can still be wasteful, even if a washer has that special setting.
Use phosphate-free enzyme detergent: Phosphates are bad for the environment, and phosphate-free detergents used with rinse aids clean as well as regular detergent.