The problem: Keeping the family in clean duds is bloating bills.
The solution: Need a new washer? A front-loading model is a good choice. It may cost $500 or so more than a basic top-loader, but it will use roughly half the water, require less energy and detergent, and be gentler on clothes, says Rashkin of the DOE.
Not ready to replace what you have? Most of the energy used in washing goes to heating the water, so stick with a cold- or warm-water setting.
Residents who live in these 25 growing towns see their incomes go the furthest.