July 25, 2014

Just How Much Energy is That Appliance Using?

My computer stays on through the week, only getting shut off on the weekend.  My answering machine and TV stay plugged in, their little red lights glowing in the night.  I do turn off the treadmill between uses and the DVD player too.

My energy habits are probably similar to many Americans.  If you’re wondering how much energy you’re wasting, or conversely, saving by turning appliances off, check out this energy calculator from GE:

This is a really cool tool that calculates  how much power each appliance consumes in watts or kilowatthours.  Alternatively, you can see how much each appliance costs to use in dollars, and how much it consumes in equivalent gallons of gas.

Some appliances are marked with a blue star indicating that an  EnergyStar model is available or click on the green star to see how much energy (and money) you’ll save with a new appliance.

Approved Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Programs

If you are wondering which Department of Energy (DOE) rebates are available in your state, just check out this interactive map.  There is also a simple table listing the individual states along with the total rebate dollars available, websites and phone numbers.

DOE has approved the appliance rebate programs for the states and territories linked or listed on this page as of April 27, 2010. This list and map will be updated as additional program details are available.  This DOE site is the only official DOE-sponsored Web site – beware of other unofficial sites.

Washing Dishes in Mineral Water?

This may sound like the bottled water craze had gone too far, but hold on, this might not be as inane as it sounds.  This is an innovation featured in the new Siemens speedMatic dishwasher designed to make the drying cycle faster and more efficient by heating up faster than regular H2O.

According to Greenlaunches.com, Siemens have come up with an environment friendly and green zeolitic drying system that has won the Award for Climate Protection and the Environment. Together with the Siemens speedMatic dishwasher, the system is around 20% more efficient than others in the highest energy-efficient category. It uses just 10 liters of mineral water instead of 14 liters per cycle and this technology will now be mass produced. The technology will also find its place in mid-range models and not just high-end ones. Minerals that generate supplementary heat that help shorten the program to less than two hours at 50 degrees Celsius makes it more efficient than other dishwashers around.

This heat is supplied by zeolites that are aluminosilicate minerals with a very large surface area and microporous structure. They absorb 40% of their dry weight in water and give of heat and also the absorbed water.  Conversely, they release the water they stored when they were heated. During the drying cycle, the warm, moist air is channeled into a container under the dishwasher interior space, where there are 1.15 kilograms of zeolites. The mineral absorbs the moisture and releases hot, dry air, making the drying cycle much faster. In the next washing cycle the minerals are regenerated when the moisture is removed from them as the dishwasher is heated up.

At 50 degrees Celsius, for example, the standard program is reduced to just under two hours, about 30 minutes less than is needed by conventional dishwashers. The speedMatic is thus the fastest dishwasher in the AAA (highest-efficiency) class. And thanks to its energySave function, the machine consumes about 20 percent less electricity than the previous best dishwasher in its class. Further attractive features are higher spray pressure for hard-to-clean pots and a clever device for improved dissolution of dishwasher tabs.  And for maximum hygiene, like the level required for baby bottles and cutting boards, the speedMatic’s rinse temperature can be set at over 70 degrees Celsius, which will kill 99.99 percent of all bacteria and germs.

Frigidaire’s Swap and Save Works the $300M Rebate Program

The newly introduced Frigidaire appliance line received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s prestigious 2010 ENERGY STAR award for Excellence in ENERGY STAR Promotion.  The award specifically recognizes the brand’s Swap and Save Energy Conservation Program.

The Swap and Save program was designed to educate consumers on the
energy and monetary benefits realized by trading in their old appliances for new Frigidaire ENERGY STAR qualified appliances.  Most recently, Frigidaire announced “Paid to Upgrade”, which was created to add additional value to consumers on top of the $300m State Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program.

“As a proud ENERGY STAR partner, Frigidaire is committed to helping
our customers save money and increase energy efficiency in their
homes,” said Marty O’Gorman, General Manager for Frigidaire.  “That’s
why our new line of appliances offers a range of energy efficiencies
along with innovative features that minimize energy and water
consumption.  We’re proud to offer appliances that save consumers
considerable amounts of energy and water – from washers that use up to
82% less energy and 60% less water to dishwashers that use at least
41% less energy and 40% less water than was used just 10 years ago.”

Frigidaire recently launched 250 new kitchen and laundry appliances
designed with easy-to-use time-, money- and energy-saving features.
The new collections are ENERGY STAR qualified, where applicable, and
offer a wide variety of stylish appliances that are from 10% to 80%
more energy-efficient than non-ENERGY STAR qualified appliances.

Thermador Expands One, Two, Free Program

Starting March 1, 2010, Thermador will expand its popular ONE, TWO, FREE discount offer to include any size Rangetop, or Masterpiece Series Cooktop, to give culinary enthusiasts even more ways to save as much as $6,373 on a professional-grade Thermador kitchen. The augmented promotion now gives participants the opportunity to receive any size Thermador Ventilation system for free, provided they purchase a qualified appliance package.
The changes to the program, which was recently extended by Thermador through 2010, mean that consumers purchasing a 30-inch Thermador Rangetop or Cooktop, are also eligible to receive a free Thermador Emerald 6-program dishwasher provided they also purchase any Professional or Masterpiece Series Double or Triple Combination Oven. The previous ONE TWO, FREE offer covered only 36- and 48-inch Rangetops and Cooktops.
Participants who add any Thermador Refrigerator or any two Freedom Columns to their cooking system also receive a free Thermador Ventilation system of any size, and may be able to realize additional savings by participating in their State Appliance Rebate program for ENERGY STAR  qualified products.

Details of the expanded 2010 ONE, TWO, FREE promotion:
 Purchase a Professional Series 36- or 48-inch Range, or any Rangetop, or any Masterpiece Series Cooktop, with an accompanying Professional or Masterpiece Double or Triple Oven and get a free Thermador Emerald Dishwasher.
 New for 2010, step-up to Thermador’s top-of-the-line Sapphire™ 6-program Dishwashers for an additional $500 or $750 (depending on model).
 Add any Thermador Refrigerator or any two Freedom Columns and get any size free Ventilation System. As in the current ONE, TWO, FREE promotion, stainless steel door panels and toe kicks for the Freedom columns are also provided for free.

Getting Your Government Funded Appliance Rebate

The good news is  that the US Government’s appliance rebate program has finally begun.  The bad news is that you have a bit of footwork to do before you get it.

Under the federal program, the rebates can go to buyers of new central air conditioners, room air conditioners, heat pumps, boilers, furnaces, washers, dishwashers, freezers, refrigerators, and water heaters with the Energy Star seal.  Also, it doesn’t matter how old your clunker appliance is, it needn’t be in working order and, in some states, such as Arizona and Florida, you won’t even need to trade it in.

The tricky part is that each state will run its program differently, deciding which of the possible products it will include in the program, when to start and stop offering rebates, the size of the rebates, and which residents will qualify. In Minnesota, for instance, only washers, dishwashers, freezers and refrigerators are covered. The refrigerator rebate is worth up to $100 in Nebraska, but no more than $50 in Georgia. The Alaskan program is limited to residents receiving disability payments from the state or federal government. In Kansas and Oregon, rebates are restricted to low-income people. States have until February 2012 to allocate their rebate money, but the programs will likely expire long before then. Some will last only a week.

Eight states (Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont and Wisconsin) have launched their appliance programs, at least for some products, to capitalize on President’s Weekend appliance sales. The rest are likely to rev up by May, many around Earth Day in April. You can find the rules for your state’s program at Energy Star Web site.

More details to be aware of courtesy of CBSNews.com:

Energy Star appliances can cost $50 to $100 more, on average, than ones that don’t. But the appliance should pay for itself over five or six years through savings on your utility bill. In some cases, your savings come faster. Replacing a washer made before 2000 with a new Energy Star model, for example, can save up to $135 a year, according to the Department of Energy.

• Only 55 percent of new major appliances have the Energy Star label. So you might not be able to get the rebate on the product you want to buy.

• You might not actually get cash. Although some states will issue rebate checks, many will instead give out prepaid cards issued by Visa or MasterCard.

• Unlike “Cash for Clunkers,” where dealers handled all the paperwork, in most states you have to deal with the forms to get your rebate. That means mailing in your receipt, along with proof of residency, a rebate form from the retailer or your state energy department web site, and usually proof that your clunker appliance was picked up.

• It’ll take roughly four to six weeks to get the rebate.

Before you shop:

1. Drill down into the details of your state’s plan. Some states have rigorous requirements about which products qualify, beyond the Energy Star stamp. Others are rolling out their programs in two phases.
Minnesota and Texas let consumers reserve rebates online or by calling a toll-free number about two weeks before they buy. Check online to see if your state has rebate funds left. Some state sites provide an up-to-date tally of the amount left in the kitty.

2. Make sure the retailer you plan to visit is participating. Some small dealers are sitting out because they’ve decided the program is too costly. In Georgia, online purchases won’t qualify.

3. Learn the precise rebate amount for the appliance you’ll buy. You may encounter unexpected twists. In New York’s “Great Appliance Swap-Out,” consumers get rebates for buying eligible appliances individually or in a bundle of three, where the rebate may be larger.

4. See if you’ll get a recycling bonus. Some states boost the rebate by $25 to $75 if you recycle your old appliance.

5. Ask about additional deals. There’s a good chance your new appliance is also eligible for a manufacturer’s rebate or store promotion, too. You may also be able to combine a state rebate with the federal one. Call your local utility to see if it is dangling rebates, too. Often, utilities offer $50 off new energy-conserving appliances. The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency is a good place to do your research.

6. Apply for the rebate as soon as you can. Some retailers have in-store computer kiosks where customers can apply for rebates on the spot. In Georgia and New York, as soon as you’ve bought a qualifying appliance, you can reserve a rebate either online or by calling a toll-free number. Since states will halt their programs when their money runs out, you won’t want to conserve your energy when it comes to applying for rebates.

Miele Part of the US Appliance Rebate Program

Miele has announced that all of its dishwashers, clothes washers and refrigerators/freezers qualify for the State Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program (SEEARP). According to the Department of Energy, the stimulus bill will offer $300 million in rebates on Energy Star-qualified appliances in hopes that the program will further stimulate the economy by reducing energy bills.

Miele’s entire Independence series is Energy Star-qualified, including the line’s refrigerators, which traditionally are one of the most energy-hungry appliances in the home. The refrigerators use high-performance dual compressors, improved insulation and more precise temperature and defrost technology to boost efficiency. “Achieving a greener refrigerator that complied with Energy Star was a design goal when we developed the Independence Series,” stated Matthew Kueny, senior product manager for Miele. “Our proprietary technology and quality standards have helped us redefine just how much energy a refrigerator could save–far more than an average refrigerator–or even an average Energy Star model.”

Going forward, Miele engineers are looking to develop technology that will enable appliances to work more intelligently with the emerging infrastructure of the Smart Grid. These advancements are intended to deliver further economic and environmental benefits to consumers.

For more on appliance rebates, consumers can contact the DOE Recovery Act Clearinghouse at 1-888-DOE-RCVY (1-888-363-7289) or visit the Energy Star website.

The Appliance Rebates Have Begun

According to TWICE, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has approved plans and awarded funding to 50 states and territories for rebates on Energy Star-qualified appliances under its State Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program (SEEARP).

The appliance equivalent of “cash for clunkers” has been allocated $300 million in stimulus funds, which will provide consumers with rebates of between $50 and $200 on energy-efficient refrigerators, dishwashers, clothes washers, air conditioners and water heaters.

The stimulus effort is expected to boost white-goods sales by as much as 20 percent, industry executives have said.

Unlike the auto industry program, trade-ins are not federally mandated under the “Cash for Appliances” effort, although the DOE is encouraging states to incorporate recycling into their programs in an effort to rid the energy grid of old “clunker” appliances.

But the biggest — and most problematic — difference is the state-level implementation, which has resulted in a nationwide patchwork of rules, stipulations and start dates, and an administrative challenge for manufacturers and national and multiregional chains.

For example, several states are limiting their programs to low-income or rural applicants, while others are restricting their rebates to heating and cooling appliances. And many states, such as California and Ohio, require recycling of “clunker” appliances, and others like Florida and Illinois will provide an additional rebate for consumers who dispose of their old appliances in a responsible manner.

To help consumers navigate the maze of varying requirements, dealers are bringing sales associates up to speed on their respective state’s plans, and both retailers and vendors have created dedicated Web sites, such as Sears.com/energystar, that provide program details, tracking tools and links to DOE’s informational site, www.energysavers.gov/rebates.

Specifically, Sears’ sales associates and Web site will:

  • send email notifications to registered customers when state programs go “live”;

  • offer details on the individual state rebate programs, including when and how much will be available, and any guidelines that may apply; and

  • assist consumers with the responsible removal and disposal of their old appliances, as needed.

Similarly, Bosch, the premium majap manufacturer, has created a Bosch Rebate Resource Center site at www.boschappliancerebates.com.

The Energy Department is expected to approve SEEARP plans submitted by all 56 U.S. states and territories, with the first major marketing campaign likely to launch by Presidents Day weekend.

Consumers will be able to receive existent Energy Star rebates in addition to the Cash for Appliance subsidies.

States receiving the most majap stimulus funding include California ($35.3 million), New York ($18.7 million) and Florida ($17.6 million).