There are many ways to save money by being more energy efficient. However, one of the most visible ways of saving money is by using more energy-efficient appliances and products. These translate to an immediate reduction in your utility bills and pay for themselves over a period of time.
When buying products for the home, buy Energy Star labeled products. The ENERGY STAR label is awarded to products that use less energy to do the same work as conventional, non-qualifying products, without reducing the quality. Less energy means lower utility bills, and less stress on the environment. And the ENERGY STAR label makes it easy to identify products that are both high quality and energy-efficient. This is a simple solution for better efficiency, reducing costs and without sacrificing comfort.
The ENERGY STAR label can be found on a variety of products, such as heating and cooling equipment, lighting, appliances, and electronics.
A few examples of the energy savings and potential monetary benefits from using ENERGY STAR-labeled products and other energy-efficient appliances are outlined below. Although your individual savings may differ due to various reasons such as usage, size of home, utility rate, age, etc., the figures below give average savings that can be expected by using more energy efficient products.
- Refrigerators. ENERGY STAR-labeled refrigerators use half the electricity of a 10-year old model and will save anywhere from $35 to $70 a year on utility bills.
- Dishwashers and Clothes Washers. ENERGY STAR-labeled dishwashers and clothes washers save in two ways. Dishwashers save water and energy by incorporating sensors that can tell when the dishes are clean, and stopping the wash cycle at that point. Similarly, clothes washers use only half as much water and up to 70% less energy as conventional models, with an average annual utility bill savings of $75.
- Electronics. The fastest growing segment of energy use in homes is from electronics. Because TVs and VCRs use energy in order to maintain clocks and programming features, we spend more than one billion dollars a year to power them when they are switched off! With advanced circuitry and a fraction of the current energy usage, ENERGY STAR-labeled models save money and energy.
- Air Conditioners. ENERGY STAR Room Air Conditioners feature high-efficiency compressors, fan motors, and heat transfer surfaces. In an air conditioner, the air is cooled when it passes over the refrigerant coils which have fins, similar to an automobile radiator. The compressor sends the cooled refrigerant through the coils, and cools the air as it is forced over the coils. By using advanced heat transfer technologies, more of the heat from the air is transferred into the coils than in conventional models, saving energy required to compress the refrigerant. These air conditioners will reduce energy consumption by at least 15%.
- Clothes Dryers. Gas dryers are less expensive to operate than electric dryers. The cost of drying a typical load of laundry in an electric dryer is 30-40 cents compared to 15-20 cents in a gas dryer.
- Ovens and Ranges. New ovens have additional insulation and tighter-fitting oven door gaskets and hinges to save energy. For gas ovens, new electronic pilotless ignitions reduce gas usage by about 30% over a constantly burning pilot light. These are also more convenient, eliminating the need to restart a standing pilot light.
- Water Heaters. Water heating is typically the third largest energy expense in your home (after space heating and cooling). It typically accounts for about 14% of your utility bill. If your gas water heater is more than 10 years old, it probably has an efficiency no higher than 50%. An old water heater can operate for years at very low efficiency before it finally fails.
- Lighting. Consider replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact flouroscent lamps wherever possible. An Incandescent light bulb of 100 watts costs $0.05 for 2 hours, or $0.80 per month. An equivalent compact fluorescent bulb of 27 watts costs $0.01 per hour, or $0.20 per month.