Home Appliances, Select Them on Price or Energy Efficiency?
By Hans Dekker
For many people, price is the most important consideration when buying appliances. What they forget, however, is that there are two prices for anything which consumes power, the buying price and the running price. Buying appliances with energy efficiency in mind may cost more up front but save you money in the long run.
Most modern appliances like refrigerators and washing machines carry a label indicating their energy efficiency. Products which use the least amount of power are qualified to use the "Energy Star" label. This is a government backed program aimed at providing consumers and businesses information about saving energy.
In order to be labelled ,energy efficient, a product must meet certain criteria. For example, refrigerators must use 15% less electricity than the minimum standard set by the federal government. Office equipment must automatically switch to a low-power sleep mode after a certain period of inactivity.
Almost every major appliance such as air conditioners, freezers, furnaces, and pool heaters qualify for the Energy Star label. Buying an Energy Star product will save you money on your utility bills and will be better for the environment. Using less electricity in the home means less fossil fuel consumed by power producing plants, and less greenhouse gas emissions.
Will an energy efficient product save you money? Absolutely! Each product has a label which says how much energy it consumes. You can use this information to figure out exactly how much power you will save over the life span of the appliance. Factor in rising energy costs and your savings are even more.
The energy efficiency of any product is dependent on the engineering of the various parts that use power. For example, an air conditioner has a circulation pump, a fan, and a motor to turn the blades, as well as electronic components for controlling the temperature. Each one of these can be designed to save energy, so the overall energy efficiency is affected by the quality of these components.
Some local governments offer incentives for people to buy energy efficient products. Be sure to get informed - you may qualify for rebates or low interest loans to purchase these items.
Hans is author of http://www.alternative-energy-guide.com/ , practical ideas and articles for "non-techies"