Household appliances, including refrigerators, account for about 11% of a home’s energy usage. Upgrading to more energy efficient appliances can put a hefty dent in your electricity consumption.
All major appliances must meet minimum energy standards established by the U.S. Department of Energy. Most are required to display an EnergyGuide label, which you’ll find very helpful when shopping and comparing products. These bright yellow labels display estimated annual energy consumption and corresponding operating costs, based on national averages. In addition, some appliances carry the ENERGY STAR label. ENERGY STAR standards are generally well above the minimum federal standard for energy use.
Refrigerators consume the most energy of all the household appliances. Keep these tips in mind when shopping for a new one:
- ENERGY STAR refrigerators use at least 20% less energy than current federal standards.
- Refrigerators with top mounted freezers use 10%-30% less energy than side-by-side models.
- Chest style freezers are better insulated and waste less cold air when opening than upright models.
Clothes Washing Machines
Clothes washers with the ENERGY STAR label outperform standard models by using 50% less energy and less than half the amount of water. Since 90% of the total energy used by conventional top-load washers is for water heating, switching to one of these high efficiency machines also will have a significant impact on the energy consumed by your water heater.
There is very little variance in energy use among models of clothes dryers, so none have EnergyGuide or ENERGY STAR labels. However, some models have moisture sensors that automatically shut off the dryer when the clothes are dry, thereby avoiding wasted energy.
Stoves and Ovens
Electric cooking accounts for a minimal amount of a home’s total energy consumption.
ENERGY STAR labeled dishwashers use 41% less energy than the required federal standard. Over the lifetime of the machine, an ENERGY STAR dishwasher also will save 1,300 gallons of water. By using less water these dishwashers reduce the energy use of your water heater.