Appliances with the ENERGY STAR certification have become consumers’ preferred choice of home appliances because of the low energy usage and low operating costs incurred. They've been around for over a decade, but do we know what makes an appliance energy efficient?
In 1992, two government agencies (The Department of Energy and The Environmental Protection Agency) joined forces to create the ENERGY STAR program. In partnership, the agencies take responsibility for setting all current energy efficiency requirements on eligible ENERGY STAR products according to product specifications. Once requirements are met, the agencies awards an ENERGY STAR certification for all eligible products.
By purchasing certified energy-efficient products like dishwashers and refrigerators, consumers can expect to see significant changes in their home energy consumption, and in their heating and cooling bills.
When environmentally conscious consumers purchase high-efficiency appliances (rather than standard models), the impact of greenhouse gas emission and pollutants on the environment is greatly reduced.
How Products Earn an ENERGY STAR Label
ENERGY STAR products are produced to help consumers save money through energy efficiency. As a result, these products must meet specific criteria. The following information explains what makes an appliance ENERGY STAR:
- The appliances must use less energy than standard appliances.
- Energy usage and operating costs per household must be significantly lowered. Energy savings should be up to $300 annually.
- Eligible products must pass standards tests before being approved.
- Appliances, such as dishwashers, must reduce the burden on water supplies.
- Products must have improved insulation.
- Qualified appliances must use ‘smart’ technology and automatic controls.
- The blue ENERGY STAR logo must visible to buyers.
ENERGY STAR Appliances
In order to receive an ENERGY STAR certification, all appliances below must be manufactured under the following specific guidelines:
In one year, a family of three or four people washes about 400 loads of laundry, or about seven to eight loads per week. When you use an ENERGY STAR washer, you will use less energy to operate the machine, less water to wash each load, and ultimately do less laundry due to newer models' larger capacity to hold more clothes. To be considered a high-efficiency washing machine, the following standards must be applied:
* Both top and front-loading units must have a capacity of 1.6 cubic feet or greater.
* The Water Factor (WF), a measurement of water consumption, must be 7.5 or lower (as of 2011, the WF must be 6.0 or lower).
* ENERGY STAR-qualified washing machines are 37% more energy-efficient than standard clothes washer models, and 50% more efficient in terms of water consumption.
A standard dishwasher uses a lot of energy to heat water. If your unit is old, you can expect to expect to pay more money on your water and heating bills. If you are debating whether it is worth it to switch to an ENERGY STAR model, consider the following information.
*Standard-size dishwashers must have an energy consumption measurement of less than 324 kWh per year. Water consumption should be less than 5.8 gallons per cycle. As of 2011, these measurements are adjusted to less than 307 kWh per year, and less than 5.0 gallons per cycle.
*Compact-size Energy Star dishwashers have an energy consumption measurement of 234 kWh per year or less, as well as a water consumption measurement of 4.0 gallons per cycle or less. By 2011 standards, these measurements are adjusted to 222 kWh per year or less and 3.5 gallons per cycle or less.
* ENERGY STAR dishwashers are approximately ten percent more energy-efficient than traditional dishwasher models.
Operating costs for refrigerators are very high. But this should be no surprise when you consider that fridges are energy hogs, particularly old model refrigerators. If you purchase a new refrigerator today, your savings could vary between $100.00 and $200.00 per year.
* Full-size ENERGY STAR refrigerators are classified as having a minimum volume of 7.75 cubic feet. In order to be qualified for an ENERGY STAR rating, a refrigerator must be at least 20% more efficient than standard models.
* Compact ENERGY STAR refrigerators are less than 7.75 cubic feet in volume and a maximum of thirty-six inches in height. These appliances are also twenty percent or more energy-efficient than older model compact refrigerators.
* Refrigerators with a bottom freezer are the most energy-efficient.
Freezers consume a great amount of energy. And, the bigger the freezer, the more energy it uses. If you have a freezer that was purchased in the 1980s, the added cost to your utility bills is approximately $70.00 per year. You can also expect to pay an additional $40.00 for a freezer purchased in the early 1990s tha for a new high-efficiency model.
* Chest freezers use less energy and cost less to operate than upright models.
* Full-size ENERGY STAR freezers, which are 7.75 cubic feet in volume or greater, must be a minimum of 10% more efficient than standard freezers.
Energy Star appliances are thoroughly designed and tested so that carbon-conscious consumers can feel secure in knowing that these smart appliances performs well and help to cut costs.
- Energy Star, www.energystar.gov