Procter & Gamble formed a strategic partnership with the nonprofit Alliance to Save Energy to publicize the environmental and energy savings benefits of washing laundry in cold water. The Alliance will work with P&G's natural resource education initiative, Future Friendly, to provide consumers with the information on converting from hot/warm water washing habits to cold water washing.
As reported in the Appliance Industry Manufacturing Focus 2011: Commercial/Home Laundry (December 2011), detergent makers as well as equipment makers have recognized the significant potential energy savings that comes from using unheated, or less-heated, water in the wash cycle. Tide has marketed its Coldwater wash detergent in the United States since 2005 and the detergent now accounts for about $150 million in annual sales, but that's still a small share compared to $1 billion in annual sales for the regular Tide brand.
"Energy efficiency doesn't always require huge investments or new equipment, but it often requires education," said Kateri Callahan, Alliance to Save Energy President. "If we can overcome consumer barriers to cold water washing, consumers would find it easy to be more energy efficient and to reduce their home energy bills. With just the switch of a dial, cold water washing is one of the simplest ways to save energy and money and benefit the environment."
Appliance Industry Manufacturing Focus 2011: Commercial/Home Laundry also reported one current efforts by appliance producers to market washing machines with cycles designed for cold water washing.
Heating water can account for up to 80% of the energy used per wash load in the U.S. Moving to cold water washing - nationwide in the United States - could reduce CO2 emissions by 11 million metric tons annually.
At the 2011 Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting, P&G and its Tide brand committed to reaching 100 million U.S. households by Earth Day 2013 with educational information highlighting the energy savings and CO2 reduction benefits of cold water washing. This effort will help P&G realize its stated sustainability goal of converting 70% of the world's wash loads from warm/hot water washing to cold by 2020.
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