To Buy Energy-Efficient Appliances
• Energy Star Appliances
• Appliance Tips: Saving Money and Energy
• Recycling your old computer
|The average home actually causes more air pollution
This is because much of the
energy we use in our homes comes from power plants, which burn fossil fuel to
power our electric products. Burning fossil fuels causes air pollution and contributes
to smog, acid rain and global warming.
energy also saves money. By using energy-efficient appliances,
households can save up to $400 per year on utility bills. By using our existing appliances more efficiently we can also extend the working life of the appliances.
American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy estimates that if each
of us increases the energy-efficiency in our major appliances by 10 - 30%,
we'll release the demand for electricity by the equivalent of 25 large power
To Buy Energy-Efficient Appliances
appliances look pretty much the same on the outside, but they vary greatly
in terms of energy-efficiency and operating costs. The more energy-efficient
an appliance is, the less it costs to run. You can lower your utility bill
and help protect the environment.
Here are a few simple steps to follow when shopping for energy-efficient appliances:
the size and style.
Measure the space the appliance will occupy to be sure your new purchase
will fit. Check that there's enough room to open the door or lid fully, and
enough clearance for ventilation.
both purchase price and estimated energy use.
When deciding which brand and model to buy. In many cases, you may actually
save money by buying the more expensive, more energy-efficient model.
about special energy-efficient offers.
rebates, low-interest loans or other incentive programs are often offered
to encourage buyers to purchase energy-efficient appliances. To find rebates in your area, use Energy Star's Rebate Locator (linked from the home page under "Products"), which allows you to search by Zip code.
Read the Energy Guide label.
This yellow and black label is required by the FTC to be attached to all new
appliances (except kitchen ranges, microwave ovens and clothes dryers). It
states the estimated annual energy consumption of the appliance. Reading the Energy Guide label helps
you compare the efficiency or annual energy use of competing brands and similar
for the Energy Star logo.
Appliances with this logo are significantly more energy-efficient
than the average comparable model. The Energy Star program is operated jointly
by the U.S.Department of Energy and the EPA. More information on this program
is provided below.
Energy Star is the symbol for energy efficiency. It's a label created by the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy to help consumers save money
and minimize air pollution.
Star logo may be found on clothes washers and dryers, refrigerators, dishwashers and
room air conditioners. An appliance receives the Energy Star rating if it
is significantly more energy efficient than the minimum government standards,
as determined by standard testing procedures. The amount by which an appliance
must exceed the minimum standards is different for each product rated, and
depends on available technology.
Energy Star rated products are usually among the most efficient available
today.More information about
the Energy Star program is available at www.energystar.gov.
Tips: Saving Energy and Money
refrigerator is the single biggest power consumer in most households.
Here are some simple ways to improve it's efficiency:
temperature settings for different seasons. Check refrigerator setting
by placing a thermometer in a jar of water and leaving in refrigerator
overnight. In the morning, the temperature should read 34 to 40 degrees
F. Adjust settings if necessary. Temperature settings usually need to
be reduced in winter. The freezer should be between 0 and 5 degrees
winter, freezer space often goes unused. Your refrigerator continues
to use energy, however, to freeze this space. Take empty milk jugs,
or other plastic containers, and fill them with water. Place them outside
until they freeze, then put them in your freezer. This will fill the
empty space and reduce the area to be kept cold.
defrost refrigerators are generally more efficient than automatic defrost
models, but only if they are properly maintained. The freezer should
be defrosted if ice buildup is thicker than 1/4 inch.
Defrost food by putting it in the refrigerator the night before you want to use it. This will cool the refrigerator down and reduce its power consumption.
Wait until food has cooled down before putting it into the refrigerator.
the coils in the back of your refrigerator twice a year to maximize
the door gasket occasionally to be sure the seal isn't broken by debris
or caked on food.
should not be located near the stove, dishwasher, heat vents or exposed
to direct sunlight. Check to be sure that air flow around your refrigerator
is not obstructed.
your refrigerator has an energy-saver (anti-sweat) switch, it should
be on during the summer and off during the winter. Never
run frost-free refrigerators with freezer compartments in unheated areas
with air temperature below 60 degrees F.
One large refrigerator is cheaper and more efficient to run than two smaller
ones. Getting rid of an old refrigerator is one of the largest single contributions
you can make to lowering your electric bills and to conserving energy and
Buying a new refrigerator?
Refrigerators with fewer accessories are usually more efficient. In particular:
• icemakers and water dispensers use excessive energy and are not particularly useful.
• auto-defrost causes lower overall efficiency because heat is used to speed defrosting
• the most
efficient refrigerators are 16-20cu ft, with freezer on bottom or
top rather than the side.
the burner which is the closest match to pot size. Heat is lost and
energy is wasted if burner size is larger than pot size.
lids on pots and pans so you can cook at lower settings.
drip pans under conventional coil burners clean. Don't line drip pans
with aluminum foil - they can reflect too much heat and damage the elements.
preheat when baking.
your oven temperature. Use a separate oven thermometer to ensure your
oven control is accurate.
sure the oven door seal is tight. Avoid opening oven door while baking
- each time the door is opened, about 20% of the inside heat is lost.
oven off a few minutes before food is ready, and let oven heat finish
stoves: electronic ignition (piezo) will use about 40% less gas than
a pilot light.
light and burner flame on gas stoves should be blue. If flame is yellow,
ports need to be unclogged or adjusted. Ports can be cleared with pipe
the microwave. They use only 1/3 to 1/2 as much energy as conventional
'Self-cleaning' ovens are more efficient because they are better insulated.
90% of the energy produced compared to only 55% for a gas burner and
65% for traditional electric ranges. more
(Solar) ovens are the most energy-efficient cooking appliance,
as they require no fuel of any kind to cook, yet reach temperatures
of 360° - 400°. more info
Be sure your clothes are dirty enough to really need washing. Standard washing machines use 40 gallons of water per load. The easiest way to save water and energy with washers is to use them less, so look to ways you can reuse clothing, towels and linens between washings.
water level and temperature settings on your washer to the size of your
load. Don't fill the whole tub for a few items. Newer machines have
automatic water level settings which adjust to load size.
your water utility and ask them how hard or soft your water is.
You may be using up to six times as much clothing detergent as you need.
Your appliance manuals will tell you how much you need for your water
much as 90% of the energy used by your washing machine is used to heat
the water. For most washing applications, warm wash and cold rinse are
just as effective as hot wash and warm rinse. The rinse temperature
doesn't effect the quality of the cleaning.
using too much detergent. Follow instructions on the box. Oversudsing
makes your machine work harder and use more energy.
dryer lint screen after each use. Lint build up greatly reduces efficiency.
the dryer lengthens drying time. Clothes should dry in 40 minutes to
a 'perma press' (cool-down) cycle. No heat is supplied in the last few
minutes, but drying continues as cool air is blown through the tumbling
the dryer exhaust vent on the outside of the house
clean. It should be clear of cobwebs and lint. The moveable shutters
should move easily - they're designed to prevent cold air, heat and
insects from entering the vent when the dryer is not operating.
multiple loads back to back. Because the dryer takes time and energy
to warm up to drying temperature, stop-and-start drying uses more energy.
a clothesline, retractable clothesline, or indoor drying rack will save energy and reduce fabric
wear on your garments (the lint on the lint screen is your clothing
being broken down).
Buying a new dryer? Look for a model that comes with a sensor that automatically stops the dryer when the clothes are dry. Dryers with a 'cool-down' period also save energy. The
newer front load washers require much less
water, hold larger loads and save energy in reduced water heating.
Dryer sheets and the lint filter - how to reduce fire hazard, improve efficiency
If you use dryer sheets when using your clothes dryer, be sure to take the lint filter out and wash it with hot soapy water and an old toothbrush at least every six months. This is because the dryer sheets can coat the lint filter with an invisible film which can lead to lower dryer efficiency, a burned out heating unit and even a potential fire.
To check whether there is a film on your lint screen, simply pull out the filter and run it under hot water in the sink. If the water pools up on the filter, then you need to clean it.
Avoid unnecessary pre-rinsing before putting dishes in the washer. Modern dishwashers are very efficient and will remove all but the most stubborn food residue. Pre-rinse or soak only those dishes and cookware which won't come clean in the dishwasher.
Run the washer only when full to capacity.
Clean dishwasher drains and filters to ensure efficient operation.
If you are buying a new dishwasher, buy the size that fits your needs. Larger dishwashers use more water and electricity, and are more expensive.
Choose a dishwasher with an "energy-save" or "light wash" cycle which uses less water and operates for a shorter amount of time.
Choose a dishwasher with an "air-dry" option which uses circulation fans. This uses less power than "heat-dry" modes. Look for a dishwasher with a hot water booster or internal water heater that raises water temperature inside the dishwasher.
a ceiling fan in the largest room of your house. This will allow you
to lower the setting on your air conditioner 3 to 6 degrees, which will
save up to 25% of energy costs of home cooling. (Be sure to reverse
the fan rotation in winter to "clockwise"'.)
filter screen once a month. This will reduce fan usage and save electricity.
turning on your air conditioner, avoid using the coldest setting. Let
the air conditioner warm up for a while before lowering the temperature
setting. The room will cool just as fast.
It isn’t recommended that you leave your air conditioner on when you leave your house, but if you’re going to do so, turn the temperature setting up a few more degrees while you’re gone to about 28° C (82° F). Also, remember to turn off your air conditioner if you’re going to be away from your home for more than a day.
leaves and other debris off the condensing unit, and gently brush webs
and dust from condensing coils. Ensure that airflow is not obstructed;
allow 18" open space clearance from the condenser. If
buying a new air conditioner, choose a model with an Energy Efficiency
Ratio (EER) of 10.0 or higher.
water heater. If your water heater feels warm to the touch, you will
save money and have more hot water by adding more insulation. here's
settings on water heater. Experiment within the 120-140 degree range to find
the lowest setting which supplies you with enough hot water. Operating a water heater at unnecessarily high temperatures increases energy consumption and shortens tank life. It also increases the likellihood of scalds; a particular concern for young children and seniors. As a general rule, it shouldn't be higher than 120F (49C), but always check with the tank manufacturer or refer to the manual first.
water pipes leading from the water heater. here's
you're ready for a new water heater, consider a tankless
water heater. These models can save as much as fifty percent
of the cost of heating water.
and Home Office Equipment
off the monitor when your computer is not in use. Over half of the energy
used by the computer goes to the monitor, so turning it off will save
significantly. A single monitor left switched on overnight can use the same energy as a laser printer producing 800 printed copies. And dont be fooled by a screensaver the computer is still working at full power to run this.
equipment off when it is not in use (except your fax machine). Even
machines on standby use up to 30 watts of electricity.
can be the most energy-intensive step, so print only pages you need.
Edit documents on-screen to save unnecessary printing. If you have a
choice of printers, avoid using a laser printer for draft-quality printouts.
paper. Inkjet printers can easily accept used paper, so you can print
on the unused side. Or keep discarded pages for jotting notes.
a new computer? Consider whether a laptop could meet your needs. Laptops
use about half of the electricity consumed by typical desktop
computers. When buying a laptop, look for systems comprised completely
of 3.3-volt components (processor, memory and LCD). These systems use
40 to 50% less energy than 5.0-volt systems, and are generally equipped
with a lighter battery. Alternatively, look for a model with an Energy Star rating. Buying
a new printer? Inkjet printers have low energy consumption, are inexpensive
and permit the re-use of paper, saving costs and reducing environmental
impacts. If you are buying a laser printer, look for one with an energy-saver
feature, which reduces energy use when idle by over 65 per cent. Even
when idle, laser printers consume between 30 and 35 per cent of their
peak power requirements.
Eliminate loss of phantom power:
Plug your TV, DVD player, VCR and stereo into a power bar. When you
turn them off, turn off the bar, so they won't be drawing "phantom
power" while you're not using them. You can check any of your home appliancis for hidden energy loss by using an electricity monitor.
your old computer:
is becoming a serious and increasing problem with the high turnover of
computers. Computers contain significant amounts of lead and heavy metals
that are dangerous to the environment. Here are several alternatives to
sending your computer to the landfill:
~ Pass it on. The simplest solution to recycling
your old computer. Ask at a local school or put a notice on a community
bulletin board offering your computer free for the taking. Many people
without a computer will still find use with the word processor and basic
~ Recycle. Several computer manufacturers
have developed recycling programs. For a small fee, you can have old computer
equipment picked up for recycling. 'Coupon' points are available from
HP towards future purchases. For more info, visit: hp.com.recycle
~ In the US, the National
Cristina Foundation (NCF) provides computer technology to people
with disabilities, students at risk and economically disadvantaged persons.
the Technology Computer Recycling
Project - provides a searchable national computer donation database to
connect computer donors and charities seeking donations.
Technology Recycling Project - constantly updated, nationwide directory
to find the non-profit computer recycler closest to you.
For additional information, see: Recycling
of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network offers
a wealth of energy-efficiency information as www.eren.doe.gov. This information
is also available toll-free at 1-800-363-3732.
Trade Commission offers consumer information as www.ftc.gov, or
toll-free at 1-877-382-4357. They also offer many free brochures on consumer
issues. Ask for "Best Sellers" at the same toll-free number.