August 1, 2014

Be Frugal and Eco-Friendly?

Appliance makers are attuned to the changing attitudes of consumers. Manufacturers are marketing their appliances not only as green, but as cost saving as well.  According to the Wall Street Journal and Yahoo, appliance manufacturers are pushing the financial savings because their eco-friendly green appeal alone may otherwise be a hard sell in a recession. But energy-efficient gadgets are also becoming more attractive because the price difference between them and traditional devices is narrowing.  Whirlpool now offers Energy Star-rated models of its Classic washers and dryers, which are priced between $549 and $679 and are generally cheaper than its other lines.

More appliance makers are trying to quantify exactly how much energy and how many dollars people can save in the long run. “If they can see in black and white that there is a cost savings involved, they are more inclined to buy it,” says Mark Delaney, director of the home-industry sector at NPD Group, a market research firm.

The cost savings don’t usually amount to much in the short term. And many families may not see the kinds of savings that the companies promise. That is because company estimates make certain assumptions, such as how long the new product lasts, how old your previous appliances were, and whether you are using the latest gadget with other energy- or water-efficient devices under the same brand name.

Government rebates can add to the savings, however. At least 15 states — Colorado, Arizona and Illinois are examples — have rebate programs for Energy Star appliances, according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers. The programs are often offered through utility companies. For instance, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. in California offers rebates of up to $75 for washers and up to $50 for dishwashers and room air conditioners for certain Energy Star-designated models.

And more rebate programs may be on the way. The stimulus bill recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives includes $300 million to fund such rebates. If the provision is a part of the final bill signed into law, it would allow more states to adopt similar programs for consumers who want to replace older appliances, says Jill Notini, spokeswoman for the home-appliance trade group.

To be sure, manufacturers are continuing to unveil appliances that simply contain eco-friendly features and have green appeal. Whirlpool, for instance, is rolling out a Resource Saver refrigerator in March for $2,099. It exceeds federal energy-efficiency standards by 30% and uses energy comparable to the amount required to power a 60-watt light bulb, Whirlpool says. The company also released last Sept. a dishwasher priced at $799 that saves consumers 4,300 more gallons of water a year compared to hand-washing, Whirlpool says. 

So,  take the time to shop around, and compare not only prices, but the long-term cost savings that can come from using an energy efficient appliance over a number of years.

Whirlpool’s Eco Kitchen Line

According to the US government, kitchen appliances use the bulk of our household energy consumption. In addressing the need to save energy, Whirlpool has introduced their Eco Line.  The line is designed to be as much as 290 percent more efficient than previous models and includes a Resource Saver refrigerator, Resource Saver dishwasher and Energy Save range.

With energy use equivalent to powering a 60-watt light bulb, the Resource Saver refrigerator exceeds Energy Star standards by 10 percent. To help stretch the dollar even further and better preserve food, the refrigerator’s 6th Sense technology automatically adjusts cooling to bring existing food to the desired temperature in half the time. A Fast Cool button immediately drops the refrigerator and/or freezer temperatures to accommodate new food additions, such as hot leftovers.

The dishwasher uses one-third less water and energy than dishwashers manufactured seven years ago. The savings is the result of greater water pressure to break up more food more efficiently. Synchronized spray arms clean dishes on the upper rack first, followed by the lower rack, resulting in enhanced cleaning performance.

Also in the Eco Kitchen line are two ranges equipped with an Energy Save mode. The feature conserves electricity when the oven is not is use. Similar to a computer’s sleep mode, it dims extra features such as the digital clock and control display.

The dishwasher retails for about $800, the range $700 and the refrigerator, which will be available in March, for about $2,000.

Home Appliance Efficiency to Improve Under New Energy Bill

Here’s some news from appliancemagazine.com  about saving energy and how the appliance industry is working to make some changes.

In late December, President Bush signed into law the “Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007,” a comprehensive energy bill that includes several historic provisions supported by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) to dramatically improve energy efficiency and maintain federal preemption for home appliances in the United States.

The enacted legislation codifies an agreement between industry and energy and water advocacy organizations to establish the strictest federal energy efficiency standards to date for residential clothes washers and dishwashers and for the first time ever, will also include national water limit requirements for these products. The law also sets energy standards for dehumidifiers and requires the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to consider revisions of current refrigerator energy efficiency standards.

The new energy and water standards will result in a savings of up to 3.3 Quads of energy and nearly 11 million acre feet of water over 30 years, equivalent of more than 2 1/2 years of domestic water use in the United States. The set of standards will save consumers up to $14.7 billion in utility payments.

AHAM was also instrumental in crafting language included in the law that establishes a product specific approach to defining and regulating standby power in major home appliances focusing on overall appliance energy consumption. “AHAM is pleased with the enactment of this comprehensive energy bill” said AHAM president Joseph M. McGuire. “The law demonstrates once again that home appliances are in the forefront of energy efficiency and provide real solutions for consumers wishing to do their part to save energy and protect the environment. Legislation still pending in Congress, when enacted, will supplement these appliance standards with tax credits to manufacturers to produce “super efficient” products making upgrading home appliances the most cost effective step a consumer can take to save energy.”