Appliances

According to the Department of Energy (DOE), appliances consume for nearly 20% of energy used in your home. By incorporating energy efficient appliances, a home can significantly reduce its energy demand. The most common energy-efficient standard is set by the ENERGY STAR certification program.1

ENERGY STAR

ENERGY STAR certified products that incorporate advanced technologies to save at least 10-50% energy and/or water compared to standard models of similar products based on testing conducted in EPA recognized laboratories.3 The ENERGY STAR certification standards are updated yearly.

Most effective appliance upgrades

Energy use of home appliances varied significantly. The following chart shows the energy use and the related cost of difference appliances. The appliance upgrade should start with the ones with higher energy consumption, such as a water heater. Clothes dryers, refrigerators/freezers, computers, televisions, microwaves, and washers are typically the next largest energy consuming appliances in your home. You can check which appliance uses the most energy in your home using the DOE’s “Appliance Energy Calculator.”2

Typical energy consumption for various appliances, by the Department of Energy

Below are some replacement considerations for each of these appliances:

Water Heaters

Add energy efficiencies strategies for home water heaters with resource or reference link.

Dryers

Energy Star certified dryers reduce energy usage by 20% when compared to conventional clothes dryers. Moisture sensors can further these savings by automatically shutting off the dryer in order to avoid over-drying clothes. This saves energy and reduces wear and tear associated with over-drying.4

Washers

Energy Star certified clothes washers use 35% less water and 20% less energy when compared to conventional washers.4 Energy-Guide labels by Energy Star help estimate annual energy costs for each washer.5

Refrigerators/freezers

According to homeadvisor.com, if the age of your refrigerator or freezer is over 15 years old, it’s likely economical to replace it with a more energy efficient model. If you notice problems with a newer model, it’s more economical to repair the refrigerator.6

Computers

Generally, older computers are much less efficient than newer computers. Lap-tops and notebooks are more energy efficient than desktop computers.7 To determine the efficiency and sustainability of a computer, look for Energy Star certification or an Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) rating. Energy Star is the most widely used computer certification in the United States. Energy Star computers use energy efficient power supplies with power saving modes and power management features. The EPEAT, administered by the Green Electronics Council, is a three tiered rating system which certifies computers as gold, silver, and bronze based on over 50 life-cycle criteria. EPEAT computers are all Energy Star certified as well.8

Televisions (TVs)

Typically newer TVs use less energy than older TVs; larger TVs use more energy than smaller TVs; and plasma TVs use more energy than both Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) and older cathode ray tube TVs.9 Energy Star TVs reduce energy use by 25% when compared to similar conventional TVs.10 Additional considerations include picture brightness settings and standby power use for your TV.7

Microwaves

Microwaves use 30%-80% less energy than conventional ovens when cooking small meals. The energy efficiency of microwaves doesn’t vary as much as other appliances; thus they do not receive Energy Star ratings. The only variance associated with the energy usage of microwaves is attributed to the overall size of the microwave, with larger microwaves using more than smaller microwaves. Newer microwaves have improved energy efficiency and cooking efficacy by incorporating temperature and moisture sensors, and variable power control.12

 

Reduced Energy Consumption Recommendations

Below are recommendations on how you can cut-back on energy use for various appliances in your house:

Computer use

By activating power management features on your computer, you can save energy. Visit the Department of Energy’s “Energy Efficient Computer Use”13 webpage or Energy Star’s “Computers” webpage to learn about smart computer power management.11

Smart Appliances

Manufacturers are now offering “smart appliances,” or appliances that can be connected to electric meters or a home energy management system to shift your electricity use to the off-peak hours when electricity is cheaper. Contact your electricity provider to see if they do offer off-peak hour discounts.

Managing Loads

When electronics are plugged in and not in use they still continue to draw power, which can add up over time. By incorporating power strips, you can manage these stand-by power loads by flipping the power strip off when the electronics are not in use, thus cutting off the current and power to the appliances connected to it.16

 

Other tips to save energy

The following websites provide tips on how you may do so:
 

Resources

1 "About ENERGY STAR" by energystar.gov

An introduction to the ENERY STAR program. 

2 "Estimating Appliance and Home Electronic Energy Use" by energy.gov

Tool for estimating energy usage for various appliances. 

3 "ENERGY STAR Qualified Appliances, Save Energy through Advanced Technologies" by energystar.gov

Introuction to the benefits ENERGY STAR appliances.

4 "Laundry" by energy.gov

Energy and water saving strategies for your laundry units. 

5 "Shopping for Appliances" by energy.gov

ENERGY STAR, Energy Guide, and smart appliance background information, including how to read the labels on appliances. 

6 "How Much Does it Cost to Repair an Appliance?" by homeadvisor.com

Discussion of the costs associated with repairing appliances including refrigerator/freezers, washing machines, dryers, oven/range/cooktop, and smaller repairs for homes.

7 "Home entertainment and technology" by yourenergysavings.gov.au

Energy saving types for your home's home entertainment and technology systems. 

8 "Top 5 Energy-efficient Computers" by science.howstuffworks.com. 

Energy efficient ratings and suggestions for home computers. 

9 "Home entertainment" by greenchoices.org

Discussion of energy saving features for home entertainment systems. 

10 "Televisions" by energystar.gov

Introduction to the benefits of purchasing an ENERGY STAR certified television. 

11 “Computers” by Energy Star

Overview, specifications, and buying guidance for energy-efficient computer selection.

12 "Microwave Ovens" by consumerenergycenter.org

Discussion of energy savings that may be realized using microwave ovens.

13 "Energy Efficient Computers, Home Office Equipment, and Electronics" by energy.gov. 

Energy management features for computers, equpiment, and other electronics within typical households. 

14 “What Appliances Are Worth Upgrading” by lifehacker.com

Learn about the savings associated with various appliance replacements.

15 www.hgtv.com/remodel/mechanical-systems/smart-appliances

16 "Smart Appliances" by hgtv.com

Introduction to the current success of smart appliance technologies. 

17 "How Much Can You Really Save with Energy Efficient Improvements?" by energystar.gov 

Energy efficient recomendations including the potential savings and annual savings for each recommended action. 

18 "More IT Energy Saving Tips" by ENERGY STAR

Many energy saving recommendations. 

19 "Energy Efficient Appliances" by eartheasy.com

Discussion of steps to be taken when purchasing energy-efficient appliances.