Energy Efficient Appliances
Every year, household appliances are becoming more and more energy efficient. At the same time, more information is available to help consumers choose the right electrical appliances for them. In this case, as in many others, doing the right thing for the environment is also often the best thing economically. Usually the most energy efficient appliances cost little more than others, and can offer very significant savings in energy bills. At the same time, buying the most efficient appliances is only half the solution. The other half is knowing how to use them properly.
The Energy Star Program was originated in the United States by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy, and has since been adopted by many other countries that produce electric appliances. The program identifies energy efficient appliances and authorizes manufacturers to place an Energy Star logo on the product if it meets certain efficiency standards. For example, refrigerators that are approved by the Energy Star program must provide savings of more than 20% over minimum U.S. Federal standards. While this program is the best known and most widely applied, a caveat for buyers is that it only rates energy efficiency, and these products might or might not be the most durable, the best value, or of the highest quality. Other rating systems that take energy consumption into consideration but also look at these other factors, such as Consumer Reports, might be a better guide when shopping. Consumer Reports also publishes Greener Choices, a guide specifically for environmental-friendly products, including appliances.
Besides appliances, the use of energy efficient lighting, such as LED or compact fluorescent bulbs can also contribute significant energy savings as well as durability, albeit for a higher initial price.
Regarding the use of appliances to save energy, the best guide is common sense and vigilance. Turning appliances and computer screen off when not in use, using adequate settings and providing necessary maintenance are all essential for saving energy. A very good basic guide for the use of appliances to save energy, as well as links to other resources, can be found at eartheasy.com