My dishwasher and I have been locked in mortal combat for almost a month now, ever since it decided to quit working at nearly the same moment I decided to start washing the Thanksgiving dinner dishes. Over the past week it has started to look as if the dishwasher may have won the battle. And so, while I've been contemplating washing all those Christmas dishes by hand this year, I've also been shopping for a new energy-efficient dishwasher to replace my old one.

As someone who's planning on buying a new appliance in the near future, I've been really excited about the possibility of taking advantage of new state rebates for the purchase of ENERGY STAR® qualified appliances. Funded with $300 million from the Department of Energy's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, the Appliance Rebate Program gives each state and territory the chance to develop and implement a unique program to encourage their residents to replace old appliances with new, more energy efficient models.

Most states' Appliance Rebate Programs will be rolling out in the next few months. So if, like me, you've been fighting a losing battle with an old appliance and making plans to buy a new one, you may want to look into the program before making your purchase. General information on the Appliance Rebate Program can be found through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's Energy Savers Web site.

But keep in mind that since each state's Appliance Rebate Program can have its own requirements, you'll want to contact your state directly for more specific information on how the program will be implemented in your area.

Once you know the terms of your state's Appliance Rebate Program, you can search for information on ENERGY STAR qualified appliances through the ENERGY STAR Web site. Many of the ENERGY STAR product pages—like this one for dishwashers—include links to buyer's guides, saving calculators, and other useful resources that can help ensure you feel confident in your appliance purchase.

When my dishwasher died, it may have won the battle; but, armed with all my new appliance-buying knowledge and my state's appliance rebate, I know that I'll ultimately win the war. And—even better—I'll be saving energy in the process.

Amy Foster Parish is on staff with the Washington State University Extension Energy Program and answers inquiries through the EERE Information Center.