You've probably heard a lot about Energy Star appliances and how they're certified to save energy, money, and the environment. But are they worth the investment?
Energy Star appliances usually cost more than non-certified ones, so are the energy savings you get worth the initial cost? It depends. And we'll go through what you can expect from Energy Star appliances and the savings you'll receive!
What are Energy Star Appliances?
Energy Star is a voluntary program created by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy in 1992. The program aims to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions by promoting energy-efficient products and practices.
To be certified as Energy Star, a product must meet specific energy-efficiency criteria that the EPA sets. These standards are designed to save energy, money, and the environment. Using less energy means the appliances cost less to operate, which saves on your energy bill and reduces pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
Energy Star Qualifications
As we said before, an appliance must meet certain energy-efficiency criteria the EPA sets to reach Energy Star status. These qualifications are the guiding principles and include a variety of aspects. The appliance must:
- Be in a category that contributes significant energy savings.
- Have features and performance preferred by consumers while also providing energy efficiency.
- Provide savings in energy costs within a reasonable period of time, especially when the certified product costs more than less-efficient machines.
- Utilize energy-efficient technology other manufacturers can achieve, not just through proprietary solutions.
- Confirmed energy savings after thorough testing.
Note: Refrigerators must be at least 15 percent more efficient than the minimum federal efficiency standard.
Appliance Breakdown: How Much Can You Expect to Save?
Of course, even with the shiny blue and white label declaring an appliance is Energy Star, the savings you can expect vary by machine.
- Washers: The average family washes at least 300 loads of laundry each year, significantly reducing your energy bill. Energy Star-certified clothes washers use 50 percent less water and 33 percent less energy than non-certified washers.
- Dryers: Use a ton of energy to dry clothes, but with an Energy Star-certified clothes dryer, you can use 20% less energy than non-certified dryers!
- Refrigerators: these are always on, so it's no surprise that a refrigerator makes up 13 percent of a home's total energy use. Energy Star-certified refrigerators use a minimum of 15 percent less energy than non-certified refrigerators.
- Dishwashers: Energy Star-certified dishwashers use 10 percent less energy and up to 20 percent less water, which over the lifetime of the dishwasher, can save up to 1,900 gallons of water! And they clean more efficiently than older, non-certified models as well.
How Energy Star Saves Money
With all that savings on energy, what does that mean for your monthly energy bill savings? Since you'll be using less energy each time to use an Energy Star-certified machine, your monthly utility bill savings will increase. In fact, you can expect to save between 20 to 50 percent on your monthly energy bills, which also slowly helps you gain on your investment for these pricier machines.
Not only can you save your energy bill, but you can even get a tax credit! Some cities, states, and parts of the federal government have incentive programs to encourage people to buy energy-efficient products. So, you can even save a bit on your taxes!
Understanding the Energy Label
All Energy Star appliances have an energy label showing how much energy the appliance uses. It's usually a bright yellow label with a ton of information on it. But what does it mean?
- Unit Specifications: in the top right corner, you'll find the model number, dimensions, and manufacturer, which tells you the product the label is for.
- Energy Efficient Rating: usually located in the middle, this tells how much the appliance costs for a year, based on an average household's usage. However, the number depends on the type of equipment.
- Linear Scale: located under the energy efficient rating, the scale depicts how that specific model rates compared to other models.
- Kilowatt-Hour Energy Consumption: explain how many kilowatt-hours the unit consumes annually. You can then use this to approximate your energy costs by multiplying this number by your suppliers' energy rate.
- Energy Star Log: certifies that the equipment is built with distinct features that elevate energy efficiency by up to 15 percent over a basic model.
Ready to Save
So, what's the takeaway? Energy Star appliances are an investment, but one that does pay off in the end. The energy savings over time will save you more than you think on your monthly energy bill throughout the life of the appliance. And the best part is the more Energy Star appliances you have, the more savings you'll earn!