Homeowners appreciate the need for energy efficient products. There are so many ways we use energy in our daily routine and all of it inevitably adds up to higher bills and carbon emissions. By making better choices about our appliances, we can all contribute to greener living.
But how do we know the appliances we are purchasing are actually energy efficient? Researching carefully before big purchases like dishwashers or refrigerators is important to ultimately saving money on energy bills and protecting the environment.
Choosing appliances with the Energy Star is one easy way to ensure the product you are buying is energy efficient.
WHAT IS ENERGY STAR?
The Energy Star program was established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy in 1992 for computers, but has since grown to encompass more than 35 product categories for the home and workplace. The Energy Star program has contributed to more efficient lighting in office buildings and overall higher standards for products to be energy efficient.
The Energy Star Most Efficient award is an extension of the Energy Star brand. It recognizes the most efficient products among those that qualify for the Energy Star in a given year. Essentially, the Energy Star Most Efficient list showcases the “best of the best” in energy efficient products.
Here are a few key appliances on the Energy Star Most Efficient list:
The average American family washes 300 loads of laundry each year. That’s a lot of energy and water! Energy efficient washers have a greater tub capacity, requiring fewer loads to clean the same amount of laundry. For the Most Efficient, Energy Star considers standard sized residential clothes washers, measuring about 2.5 cubic feet, and equally qualifies top- and front-load washers. However, small volume washers are not considered because there is not enough differentiation in the market.
Energy Star washers on average save about 38% of energy above other standard new products. LG models featured on the list have an annual energy use of 150 kWh/year and use about 5,381 gallons of water a year. More efficient washers, such as Kenmore, have an average energy use of 105 kWh/yr and uses about 3,841 gallons of water a year. Many of these washers also provide innovative features, such as a DirectDrive motor with 10-year warranty. DirectDrive motors are much simpler in their construction than a belt and pulley system, reducing the number of parts and increasing energy performance and reliability.
The refrigerator is undoubtedly the most essential part of every kitchen. More than 8 million are sold every year in the US. For refrigerators to qualify for the Energy Star program, they must use less than or equal to 637 kWh/year and be at least 15% more efficient than federal requirements.
The most expensive refrigerators are not always the most efficient nor hold the best capacity. For example, the Liebherr models on the list are thousands more than other models but aren’t as energy efficient as Bosch models. More energy efficient refrigerators have LED lighting in their interior. The Energy Star refrigerators save on average 10% more energy than other standard products.
Dishwashers are not in every home, but are common in many with families. Overall, they have made cleaning and drying dishes faster and more efficient. The standard washer generally can fit about twelve to fourteen place settings. For dishwashers under consideration for Energy Star’s Most Efficient list, all standard dishwashers are included. To qualify, the annual energy use needs to be less than 240 kWh/yr and the water use to be less than 3.2 gallons per cycle. If a brand is on the Most Efficient list, this means they met the energy, water, and cleaning criteria.
The annual energy use of an efficient dishwasher on the Most Efficient List is about 214 kWh/year. For 2015, only two dishwasher models were featured as Most Efficient: a Blomberg and a Viking Range. Each use technology to more efficiently run a cycle. For example, the Viking Range has a sensor built in to monitor the soil level of each dish.
Energy Star is a great program that recognizes products that make a real impact on the environment. You should always look out for products that are the most efficient. Besides shopping for appliances, there are other ways to conserve energy around your household.
You can also use Homeselfe to analyze more than just your appliances and understand your whole house’s energy use with a home energy audit.