At some point everyone has to buy home appliances and perhaps heating and air conditioning. Hopefully it ‘s not when you have 3 weeks of laundry to do only to find out that your washing machine is broken. Can you relate? Can you also relate to wandering around the store gazing over the big yellow labels wondering what they mean? Overall these labels are there for your benefit to help you compare the energy efficiency of various appliances in a particular category. It gives you the entire range and where a machine fits into that range so you can make an educated decision. You’ll find these labels on clothes washers, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, water heaters, window air conditioners, central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, heat pumps, and pool heaters.
The most important piece of information on these labels is the cost per year to run. This is based upon an average and will not necessarily reflect your costs but is an easy way to compare models. The other key number is the amount of kilowatts the appliance will use per year. Come prepared knowing the amount you pay per kilowatt to multiple these two numbers together to get your actual cost. For instance if the appliance says it uses 800 kilowatts per year and your cost is $.09 per kilowatt, the cost to run this appliance each year is $72. Say the life of the appliance is 15 years, then you’re looking at $1,000. Perhaps not so much in the grand scheme of things but think about all the appliances you run in your home. It is only to your advantage to get that number as low as possible because collectively it could make a positive impact on your budget. Here’s a good graphic from the FTC if you want to know more.
If energy efficiency is important to you, there are two other things you can do. Look for theENERGY STAR Label as this guarantees that the appliance meets a certain standard of efficiency as set forth by the EPA. Also check the manufacturer’s website. For instance I checked the site for Bosch dishwashers and found that they exceed the ENERGY STAR criteria and implement sustainable practices minimizing energy consumption in packaging & transportation as well as in reduction of water usage.
Remember that increasing energy efficiency not only reduces your costs over the life cycle of the appliance but also comes with the benefit of reducing the impact on our earth.