Though the mantra "reuse, recycle, reduce" is a foundation of the sustainability movements, in some cases, reusing is not the best. Replacing old appliances with new, efficient models is the surest way to cut long term energy costs.
ENERGY STAR®, an Environmental Protection Agency program, has simplified the shopping process by offering the ENERGY STAR® label for appliances.
Such products, whether they are dishwashers, clothes washers, or freezers, have been vetted to be certain they use less energy and natural resources and help you save money.
Product tags typically outline the appliance's benefits. Some examples:
- A full-sized ENERGY STAR® clothes washer uses 15 gallons of water per load, instead of 23 gallons used by a standard machine. It saves 27,000 gallons of water over the machine's lifetime.
- ENERGY STAR® refrigerators use about 15% less energy than non-certified models. Opting for a certified new refrigerator rather than a standard one can save you $80 in energy bills over the lifetime of the refrigerator. Calculate potential savings at www.EnergyStar.gov.
- Dishwashers with the ENERGY STAR® label are on average 10% more energy efficient and 20% more water efficient than standard models. Pre-1994 dishwashers cost $40 per year more in energy than those with the ENERGY STAR® label.
Recycle old appliances
If appliance upgrades are not in your budget, use what you have efficiently by:
- Running full loads of laundry or full loads when running the dishwasher
- Washing clothes in cold water to save $63 per year
- Turning off the drying feature on your dishwasher
- Hanging out clothes to dry in the sun
- Using a microwave rather than a stove for cooking
- Keeping the refrigerator away from direct sunlight and setting the temperature between 36 degrees and 38 degrees Fahrenheit. Set the freezer temperature between 0 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit.
REALTORS® who have earned the National Association of REALTORS® Green Designation (www.greenresourcecouncil.org) can refer you to local experts who can assess your home's performance.
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