Archive for the ‘Energy Efficiency’ Category

How long does a dishwasher last?

February 2, 2011

This post is the latest in the series “How long do appliances last?” They’re written in a style I learned in journalism, called “By The Numbers,” which was often just another way to say “I need to take up space and do something visual.” Voila.

10

The number of years in the average dishwasher’s lifespan, according to data published by Appliance Magazine in 2010. The life span reflects how long the first owner of a dishwasher owned it, which doesn’t necessarily mean that it broke down.

215

The number of cycles washed annually by the average dishwasher, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. That’s a little over four cycles per week.

4

How many gallons of water an Energy Star dishwasher uses per cycle.That’s 860 gallons annually.

6

How many gallons of water a standard dishwasher uses per cycle. That’s 1,290 gallons annually.

20

Up to this many gallons of water are wasted by well-meaning homeowners still stuck on pre-rinsing their dishes. Repeat after me: scrape, don’t rinse!

$550

Average price of an Energy Star dishwasher, according to national retail data from 2009.

$538

Average price of a standard dishwasher in 2009.

1.5

Amount of years it takes for the lower operations costs (assuming gas water heating) of an Energy Star dishwasher to make up, or “pay back,” for the initial sticker price difference.

10%/$54

Overall savings of an Energy Star dishwasher over its expected lifetime (assuming electric water heating).

How long does a refrigerator last?

January 26, 2011

This post is the latest in the series “How long do appliances last?” They’re written in a style I learned in journalism, called “By The Numbers,” which was often just another way to say “I need to take up space and do something visual.” Voila.

12

The number of years in the average refrigerator’s lifespan, according to data published by Appliance Magazine in 2010. The life span reflects how long the first owner of a refrigerator used it, which doesn’t necessarily mean that it broke down.

14.75

Amount cubic feet of fresh food storage space in the average refrigerator, based on all active models in 2009.

6.76

Cubit feet of average amount of freezer space, based on all active models in 2009. Guess that means the average refrigerator unit is just under 22 cu. ft.

$1,180

Average price of Energy Star refrigerators in 2009.

$1,150

Average price of a standard refrigerator in 2009 (not much difference, eh?).

2.8

Amount of years it takes for the lower operations costs of an Energy Star refrigerator to make up, or “pay back,” for the initial sticker price difference.

$71

Net savings (energy savings minus initial higher cost) of an Energy Star refrigerator over its expected lifetime of 12 years.

How long does a washer last?

January 24, 2011

This post is the latest in the series “How long do appliances last?” They’re written in a style I learned in journalism, called “By The Numbers,” which was often just another way to say “I need to take up space and do something visual.” Voila.

11

The number of years in an average washing machine’s life span, according to data published by Appliance Magazine in 2010. The life span reflects how long the first owner of a washer used it, which doesn’t necessarily mean that it broke down, but it still offers a fair estimate for today’s shoppers.

392

The number of loads washed annually by the average washer, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. That’s about seven and a half loads per week.

$750

Average price of an Energy Star washer, according to national retail data from 2009.

$492

Average price of a standard washing maching in 2009.

4.7

Amount of years it takes for the lower operations costs of an Energy Star washer to make up, or “pay back,” for the initial sticker price difference.

30%

Overall savings of an Energy Star washer over its expected lifetime.

Energy Star refrigerators save $50/year over 1990s fridges

December 13, 2010

This is an outdated picture of my kitchen, but you get the idea.

I’m replacing my 15-year-old refrigerator this month with a more roomy, smarter-designed and better-looking new fridge.

Best of all, it’s an Energy Star refrigerator, which means that it uses at least 20 percent less energy than a non-Energy Star fridge. Plus, although Energy Star refrigerators generally cost more upfront, you should consider overall cost of the appliance — which includes how much energy it uses compared to other models.

Energy Star estimates that over the lifetime of your refrigerator, you will cut your energy bills by $165 versus if you used an non-Energy Star model.

So think of how much you save when you unplug the refrigerator you’re using right now? Actually, see the handy chart below.

So my fridge from the ’90s costs about $97 per year compared to an Energy Star refrigerator, which uses an average of $48, according to this chart. (And actually, my new fridge is 10 percent better than the Energy Star standards; its energy use is estimated to cost about $43 per year.)

Obviously, I have to buy the new fridge, but I’ve budgeted for that. Now, what will I do with the $50? Better question: what will do with the $600 in usage cost savings I’ll realize over the average life (12 years) of my refrigerator?

MN appliance rebate stimulus (part 2) gone; wait list filling up

November 17, 2010

A little after 10:30 this morning, the $717,000 of unused appliance rebate funds were fully claimed, according to http://www.mnappliancerebate.com.

Those who didn’t get one of the nearly 4,000 second-chance appliance rebates can take a spot on the wait list and hope that someone doesn’t cash in for the up to $200 being offered for a purchase of an Energy Star appliance.

From the website:

Thank you for your interest in the Minnesota “Trade-in & Save” Appliance Rebate Program. Currently, all rebate funds for this program have been reserved. However, you may choose to add your name to a waiting list. In the event additional funds become available, wait listed rebate applications will be processed in the order they are received. To add your name to the waiting list, complete the online reservation, print your confirmation page and follow the instructions listed on the confirmation page. Qualifying purchases made on or after March 1, 2010 are eligible for a rebate. Please note that you must make the appliance purchase before applying for the rebate.

That’s all she wrote.

I hope our customers got the lion’s share of these rebates. And being that they’re smart enough to buy from us, I’m confident that they did :)

Did any of you get one this morning? How did you find out about the relaunch?


Get a second chance at an appliance stimulus rebate

November 17, 2010

The State of Minnesota Trade-in & Save Appliance Rebate Program relaunched today to hand out about $717,000 in unused funds to customers who didn’t get a rebate reservation in March.

If you bought an ENERGY STAR appliance on or after March 1, you could be eligible for a rebate of up to $200 from the State of Minnesota!

To get your rebate, go to www.mnappliancerebate.com or call 1-877-230-9119. Funds will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, but you cannot apply for a rebate until you have made an eligible purchase. So you better hurry, before you miss out for the second time! (At the time of this blog, more than $500,000 in rebate funds remained, with about one-quarter being used.)

Refrigerators, freezers will use 25% less energy, DOE says

September 29, 2010

Energy Secretary Steven "I'm lookin' out for" Chu announced he will bite the straw of the one of the biggest power-suckers in the home in two years.

The U.S. Department of Energy announced Tuesday a 20-25 percent increase in the minimum energy efficiency standards of new refrigerators and freezers by 2014.

The news release goes on to talk about billions of dollars saved for consumers over 30 years, which kind of makes my eyes glaze over. What the heck does that mean for me?

Look at it this way: today’s fridges already best their 1970s counterparts’ energy use by one-third, and back then annual operation cost  an average of $259 versus an average of $54 per year for today’s standard-efficiency unit. An Energy Star unit currently costs an average of $43 to operate annually.

Energy Star refrigerators already use 20 percent less energy than the federal standard, so basically, new fridges in 2014 will become at least as efficient as today’s Energy Star fridges, meaning annual operating costs will drop about $11. And if Energy Star standards increase alongside minimum standards in response (using a conservative 20 percent efficiency increase), average operating costs of an Energy Star refrigerator will look more like $34 per year. That’s of course assuming energy costs remain constant, but I just wanted to make savings concrete rather than throw this at you (from the release):

According to the Department’s analysis, the proposed standards could save nearly 4.5 quads (quadrillion BTUs) over 30 years, equivalent to three times the amount of energy used in refrigerators and freezers in American homes in one year.  The standard, as proposed, would also eliminate the need for up to 4.2 gigawatts of generating capacity by 2043, equivalent to 8-9 coal-fired power plants nationwide.   The savings would reduce cumulative carbon dioxide emissions by 305 million metric tons between 2014 and 2043.

(Come again?)

Also, standards didn’t necessarily account for how many consumers actually used their refrigerators. From a spokesman for an energy-efficiency advocacy group:

“Even though refrigerators have become much more energy efficient, they still account for about 10 percent of household electricity use,” observed Alliance to Save Energy Vice President for Programs Jeffrey Harris. “With the new standards, consumers will not only save energy, they’ll also have a better picture of total energy use, because the ratings will include automatic ice makers.”

Over the next year, the DOE also plans to evaluate standards for central air conditioners, room air conditioners, furnaces, clothes washers, clothes dryers and dishwashers.

My fridge is 15 years old, so I expect huge improvements when I replace it. How old is your refrigerator? Will new improved energy efficiency motivate you to replace your unit faster, because of faster payback? More importantly, did reading this article make you feel guilty about using your “but it still runs” fridge from the 70s to cool a couple of beers in your basement?

Related: Warners’ Stellian’s commitment to sustainability

5 Energy Star washers that almost pay for themselves

September 24, 2010

Appliances aren’t cheap. And Energy Star appliances cost even more than standard, new appliances.

But that’s just the sticker price. I’ve blogged before about how the long-term savings of Energy Star washers will not only end up costing less than regular washers in the end, they’ll pay for a dryer.

An Energy Star washer costs an average of $258 more at purchase time, but saves about $481 in energy and water costs over its lifetime.

Now, unless you get it at heavy discount or as part of a government stimulus/utility rebate program, $481 won’t pay for an Energy Star washer. But it comes close.

Here’s a roundup of the least-expensive Energy Star washing machines to prove that energy efficient appliances can be accessible to all.

GE 4.1 Cu. Ft. Energy Star Washer (EWA5600KWW)

Frigidaire Front-Load Washer (FTF530FS)

Maytag 4.0 cu. ft. Energy Star Washer (MVWC6ESWW)

Whirlpool 4.3 Cu. Ft Energy Star Washer (WTW5500XW)

MY PICK: Fisher & Paykel EcoSmart 4.2 cu.ft washer (WA42T26GW1)

Have you been to the Eco Experience at the Minnesota State Fair yet?

September 3, 2010

What did you think? Surprises? Likes/dislikes?

A friend sent me these pictures of our appliances and the "Styrofoam-On-A-Stick" display (cute, right?) I made about our package recycling program.

Another view from the Eco Experience Kitchen

I haven’t made it yet, but I’m going tonight and I’d love to get some perspectives from others first.

Got Connexus or Dakota Electric?

September 1, 2010

I’m still amazed on how hot and bothered Minnesotans got about getting a rebate check for buying an appliance last spring. Not that it wasn’t a good deal, but there are tons of good deals if you’re paying attention.

Like this:

Starting today, you could get up to $200 of instant appliance savings from your electricity company if you use:

  • Connexus Energy
  • Dakota Electric
  • Steele-Waseca Cooperative Electric
  • Goodhue County Cooperative Electric Association
  • Itasca-Mantrap Cooperative Electrical Association
  • Lake Region Electric Cooperative

With the Warners’ Stellian coupon provided by these electric companies (distributed in bills, bill envelopes or newsletters), you’ll get $125 off an ENERGY STAR refrigerator and $75 off an ENERGY STAR clothes washer.

Plus, you’ll get free delivery if your purchase is $499 and above (this applies more to those living outside the Twin Cities metro, where we always offer free appliance delivery!).


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