Most of us want to save energy. It’s good for the environment and good for our pocketbooks. By choosing a new appliance with an Energy Star rating you are off to a good start. How much you will save though, depends on the type and age of the appliance you are replacing.
One thing seems certain though, you will be saving more than that yellow Energy Star label lists. Why? Because according to www.energystar.gov the Energy Star ratings compare a new Energy Star model to a new standard model, not to older ones like those in your kitchen and laundry room.
The Washington Post writes:
For example, a 2007 Energy Star refrigerator uses at least 15 percent less energy than a standard one, as you will note when you peruse the showroom floor. But the average American household replaces its refrigerator about every 14 years, so a more accurate calculation for you would be to compare the 1993 standard to the current Energy Star one.
Using an 18-cubic-foot freezer-refrigerator, a fairly common size, as a basis for comparison, a new Energy Star model would use about 30 percent less energy than the 1993 standard model. But many families have refrigerators that are much older than that and still going strong. No one pays much attention to how much electricity these old models consume, but it is astounding when compared with the latest Energy Star models.
Using the same size for comparison, a 2007 Energy Star refrigerator uses 54 percent less energy than the 1989 model. If you’re going for some kind of record and still use the 18-cubic-foot, avocado-colored refrigerator that you proudly bought in 1975, you will find that a 2007 Energy Star model uses 81 percent less energy.
The greatest energy and water savings from a new Energy Star dishwasher will not be realized by a household trading in its 32-year-old antique but by one that is switching from hand to machine washing. Contrary to popular belief, hand washing on average uses about five times as much water as a dishwasher (about 27 gallons vs. five gallons), or about 5,000 gallons more a year, according to a German study cited on the Energy Star Web site. In areas with acute water shortages, this may be of great interest.
The energy savings between hand washing and a 2007 Energy Star dishwasher are about 38 percent, according to the Whirlpool dishwasher engineering staff.
If your brand-new Energy Star dishwasher replaces a 12-year-old machine — representing the average rate of turnover in U.S. households — water use would go down by about 33 percent, or by 600 gallons a year, and the new machine would use at least 29 percent less energy, the Whirlpool engineers said.
The turnover rate for washing machines is the same as for dishwashers, about 12 years. If that’s your situation, you will find that you have more choices than you did in 1995. Also, the Energy Star criteria for washers now include water savings. To qualify, a washer must use 40 percent less energy and about 30 to 60 percent less water than a standard top-loader.
Compared with the washer you bought in 1995, a 2007 Energy Star conventional top-loader uses about 40 percent less energy and about 25 percent less water. The 2007 Energy Star wash-plate top-loader uses about 60 percent less energy and about 30 percent less water. The 2007 Energy Star front-loader uses about 75 percent less energy and about 60 percent less water.
Many of these new appliances will pay for themselves in energy savings (lower utility bills) in just a couple years. That, and the fact that a new washing machine or dishwasher cleans better than a ten year old one, and you might just find yourself doing some comparison shopping soon.