Dishwashers are major appliances that don't use much energy on their own. The energy impact occurs in the heating of the water that the dishwasher uses. Heating the water represents more than 80 percent of the total energy use. So, most of the measure you apply to improve hot water efficiency will benefit dishwashing energy efficiency as well.
Generally, a dishwasher uses between 8 and 14 gallons of water per wash cycle, depending on which setting is selected. Using your dishwasher's lightest wash setting results in less water being used, bringing down the cost of operation. An easy way to save money is to use the "no-heat dry" option. If your dishwasher does not offer this setting, wait for the final rinse cycle to finish they open the door and let the dishes dry rather than allowing the electric heating element to come on. Also, try to only run the dishwasher when it has a full load.
When looking for a new dishwasher, look for the Energy Guide label that shows the estimated yearly electricity use. The Energy Star logo indicates the unit exceeds federal standards by at least 13 percent. EEA offers rebates on qualifying dishwashers with the Energy Star logo. Check out our rebate page for details.