Choosing energy and water efficient appliances for your home can have a significant positive impact on the environment and your monthly budget. By selecting a high-efficiency appliance over a conventional model, you can both save utility bills as well as avoid greenhouse gas emissions.
If you are in the market for a new refrigerator, washing machine, dishwasher, or other major appliance, follow these tips to find the green appliance that’s right for you.
How and When to Purchase Green Appliances
- Assess your current energy use. According to WorldWildlife.org, the average washing machine uses about 41 gallons of water per load, while energy efficient models use less than 28 gallons per load. In addition, today’s dishwashers are 95% more efficient than those manufactured in 1972. The point is, some older appliances are real energy guzzlers and could be costing you and the environment dearly. Do some research on your current appliances. The United State Department of Energy’s Appliance Energy Calculator can help you find out how much energy they use and whether it’s worthwhile to replace any of them with an energy efficient model. This guide from GreenAmerica.org provides tips on when to replace each type of appliance.
- Review appliances’ EnergyGuide label. The Federal Trade Commission manages EnergyGuide labels. These bright yellow stickers found on new appliances estimate the annual energy use and operating cost of an appliance. EnergyGuide labels are ideal for directly comparing the energy use of different appliance models when shopping in a store. Take advantage of them to choose the most efficient model for your home.
- Look for ENERGY STAR labels. EnergyStar.gov says, “When you see a product that has earned the ENERGY STAR, it means it meets strict guidelines for energy savings set by the EPA. Only manufacturers that independently certify their product’s performance are allowed to use it.” The United States Environmental Protection Agency recommends using the ENERGY STAR label to quickly identify the most efficient options, and then the FTC’s EnergyGuide label to compare your top options. These labels will help you choose appliances that save the most energy, without sacrificing performance.
- Take advantage of tax rebates for energy efficient appliances. Ask your utility company and your salesperson if low-interest loans, cash rebates, or other incentive programs are available for people who buy energy-efficient products in your area. Visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency to research government- and utility-sponsored incentives that may be available to you as well.
- Recycle your old appliances safely. Retire old appliances that use excessive amounts of energy by recycling, rather than donating them. The store where you purchase your energy efficient appliance may have a recycling program. If not, look for other options through the EPA’s Responsible Appliance Disposal program.
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