Archive for the ‘Energy Star’ Category

Dryers become the next Energy Star

July 15, 2014

energystarsappliancesThe Environmental  Protection Agency announced this spring the first-ever Energy Star dryer label.

I know what you’re thinking:

“Wait, you mean there wasn’t an Energy Star label for dryers before?”

I know, right? However, the popular thinking was that dryers couldn’t vary much among each other in energy use therefore, there was no reason to call them out.

But about three years ago, the EPA began to take steps to expand the program and reported on ways that clothes dryer efficiency could be improved.

The new label will recognize highly efficient gas and electric dryers that use about 20% less energy than required by 2015 federal standards.

Over 80% of U.S. homes have a clothes dryer, and these appliances account for approximately six percent of residential electricity consumption.

So far, one brand has already jumped on the new category. Whirlpool announced an Energy Star rated Duet steam dryer.

Whirlpool brand Duet® model WED87HED steam dryer

Whirlpool brand Duet® model WED87HED steam dryer

Many of today’s dryers already use temperature or moisture sensors to shut off the dryer once clothes are dry and cease using energy past its usefulness. Dryer models that meet the new Energy Star requirements are likely to improve upon these “auto termination cycles.”

From Energy Star:

Among the more efficient gas and electric dryers that will earn the Energy Star, consumers should expect to encounter a promising new technology. Heat pump dryers recapture the hot air used by the dryer and pump it back into the drum to dry more clothes. By re-using most of the heat, it creates a heat pump dryer that is more efficient and avoids the need for ducts leading heat out of the laundry room.

 

 

5 appliance myths that waste your time & money

September 4, 2013

washing-machineMYTH: Cold water won’t properly wash your clothes

FACT: Modern washers are designed to clean in cold water and 90 percent of a washer’s energy goes toward the water heating. So by washing with hot water, you’re pouring money down the drain.

MYTH: You must rinse your dishes before they run in the dishwasher

FACT: Dishwashers and detergent clean best when starting with dirty dishes. The detergent needs food to activate and many dishwashers use sensors to determine the “turbidity” level of the water so if the dishwasher thinks the dishes are already clean, it will run shorter and colder.

Today, an Energy Star dishwasher uses only 4 gallons of water or less, and some estimates say you’ll use 20 gallons of water from your faucet pre-rinsing dishes. So it’s better to run the dishes through 4 times than to put them in rinsed.

MYTH: More soap = more clean

FACT: Just because dishwashers and washers now require less water to clean properly doesn’t mean that everyone has gotten the message to reduce our detergent use in conjunction. Too much dishwasher detergent can leave a white film on dishes and too much laundry detergent can cause oversudsing in the washer, reducing the performance and lifespan of a washer not too mention leaving soap residue on your clothes that didn’t properly rinse out.

MYTH: Using an old refrigerator as a second beverage refrigerator is a money-saving idea

fridge-cost

FACT: The electricity to power an old refrigerator over several years will cost more than an energy efficient replacement…and then some! Energy Star’s website cleverly offers a Refrigerator Retirement Savings calculator.

I plugged in what I consider some common figures and found that the cost to a homeowner of a 20 year old top-freezer fridge (probably 18 cu ft) would be $620 over 5 years. A new Energy Star model costs about $40/year to run vs. $125/yr PLUS many local utilities will actually pay you $35 or more to let them come haul away your second refrigerator.

MYTH: Buying a more powerful A/C will cool down your space faster

FACT: The A/C will just cycle off more frequently when it reaches the temperature in the room, reducing efficiency, lifespan and causing uncomfortable temperature fluctuations. Buy a window air conditioner or room air conditioner that’s just right for your space.

MYTH: When the oven’s preheating chime sounds, it’s fully reached temperature

FACT: Some preheat chimes are on a timer so it shouldn’t be trusted for finicky bakers, who should test the temperature with a thermometer. For your everyday pizzas and casseroles, you’d be fine however.

MYTH: You don’t need to turn on your ventilation until there’s smoke

FACT: You should start running your ventilation 10 minutes before you start cooking to create an airflow and leave it running 5 minutes after you’re done for best results.

Appliance energy savings (on a stick)

August 23, 2013
stainlesssteelfrenchdoorrefrigerator

Check out the energy savings on THAT one! A fairgoer learns about the payoff of Energy Star appliances.

Again this year we’re educating Minnesota State Fair-goers about the money and energy you’ll save by using Energy Star appliances.

The Eco Experience, housed in the Progress Center building, educates Minnesotans about sustainable living practices from not throwing away your aluminum can (can you believe 60% do?) to keeping our drinking water clean to — the main event — Energy Star appliances!

energystarsappliancesThe federal government created the Energy Star label 20 years ago to promote to consumers appliances that went above and beyond the standards set for energy efficiency.

These energy-efficient appliances, though sometimes more expensive at point of purchase than standard appliances, represent a greater lifetime value when factoring in the money saved through lower utility costs.

Only refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers and washers currently carry Energy Star ratings, though the word is that dryers will soon follow. Not all appliances can be Energy Star rated because there’s not enough difference in energy use within the category to create a meaningful distinction for buyers. We’ll see if that changes.

New this year!

Warners’ Stellian is proud to partner with the University of Minnesota College of Design for the Gen Y Eco House  exhibit, designed by students to reflect the future of home design for Millennials. The students say that their generation cooks little but values energy and water efficiency so we’re featuring appliances that pack a punch in a smaller footprint: a Bosch induction cooktop, a Fisher & Paykel DishDrawer and a U-Line compact refrigerator/freezer. The laundry is stackable with an Energy Star washer and a sensor dryer. Instead of an oven, the students chose an Electrolux convection microwave, which works double duty to both reheat and bake.

 

Cyber Monday appliance deals

November 26, 2012

This year, Black Friday appliance deals were some of the best we’ve ever seen.

But if you were out scoring a TV or an iPad and neglected your poor kitchen, the sales are not over yet, courtesy of Cyber Monday.

Like this stainless steel Frigidaire refrigerator for only $399.97. Model FRT18HS8KS.

 

Score a GE top load washer for $349.97 and the matching gas dryer for $399.97 (save $400 on the pair). The GCWP1000MWW washer isn’t shown online, but is available while quantities last. Dryer is model GTDX100GMWW.

Upgrade to a stainless steel, towel bar dishwasher that’s Energy Star rated AND super quiet.

This Bosch Ascenta dishwasher is $200 off, at $499.97. Model SHX2ARL5UC.

Or, get even quieter with the Samsung stainless steel dishwasher with Stormwash, rated at only 48dB and selling for $250 off at only $599.98. Model DMT800RHS. Colors available at the same price.

All Dyson vacuums are 25% off  through today AND they ship for free.

Shop our Cyber Monday discount refrigerators, washers, ranges, dishwashers. Heck, even freezers are on sale.

Appliance energy savings — on a stick

August 24, 2012

Warner Stellian enjoys a storied history with the State Fairgrounds. And for the last few years, our appliances have made a comeback appearance at the Minnesota State Fair.

The Eco Experience, located in the Progress Center on Randall Avenue, brings together organizations, ideas, and hands-on activities to show what the fair-goers what they can do at home to help the environment.

(By the way…while you’re saving the environment…By replacing your refrigerator, washer, dishwasher and freezer from the 1980s to new Energy Star appliances you can save an average $350 a year in energy costs. Save away!)

Warner Stellian is partnering with the Fair again this year to demonstrate the options for choosing energy efficient applicances. Our display consists of a vignette of a kitchen (with island cabinet) and ENERGY STAR refrigeratordishwasher, and other appliances with an adjacent laundry room demonstrating a HE washer and dryer.

ENERGY STAR qualified appliances incorporate advanced technologies that use up to 50% less energy and water than older models. If you’re already in the market for new appliances, choosing ENERGY STAR appliances over standard appliances will cost you an average $80 less annually in water and energy (even if they cost a few more smackeroos upfront).

Also included is an ENERGY STAR freezer, air conditioner and dehumidifier.

You’ll find tips on how to decrease the energy you use on the appliances you already own.

If you like PowerPoint, awkward blondes and saving energy, come see me at the Eco Experience Sustainability Stage this Sunday, Aug. 26 at 2:30 p.m. I’ll be showing you how to save money and energy both when you purchase new appliances  and when you use what you’ve already got at home.

4 ways to cook more efficiently

March 27, 2012

No, I’m not offering tips on expediting meals with mise en place. I’m talking about ways to save energy when cooking.*

Stoves, cooktops and ovens aren’t Energy Star rated, because most models use about the same amount of energy. But there are certainly ways to use less gas or electricity when cooking.

Here are 4 tips to help you become a more energy-efficient cook:

1. Keep your burner caps and drip pans clean
Maintaining a tidy cook surface isn’t just about impressing company (or your cat).

Dirty surfaces don’t reflect heat as well as polished surfaces, thus wasting energy and potentially your time. Read my manageable daily cleanup plan.

2. Match pots and pans to the size of your burners
Unless you’re using an induction cooktop or range, you’re heating a lot of air while you try to heat your food. Induction cooking is 20% more efficient than electric and 70% more efficient than gas.

To mitigate energy loss, choose the appropriate sized pot or pan for the size of burner you’re cooking on (i.e. don’t put a 1-qt saucepan on a ginormous “power burner”).

3. Cover your pots while boiling water
When you think about it, it makes no sense to boil water in an uncovered pot. Using a cover helps water boil faster while creating pressure and preventing evaporation.

4. Skip preheating
Unless you’re baking and require precise temperatures, you don’t need to wait till your oven reaches 350 degrees to throw your food in.

I start cooking my casseroles as soon as I start my oven, and not only do they still turn out, they often turn out faster than if I wait for the oven to heat up! Better yet, shut off your oven a few minutes early and let residual heat finish off your dish. Even better yet, make two pans to freeze leftovers and reheat in the microwave later.

*If you’re trying to cook faster, use the microwave (coincidentally, using the microwave as an alternative to the oven cuts energy use in half).

Water heater tax credit 2011

December 30, 2011

If you bought a water heater this year — or think yours should be replaced soon — this post could be worth $300 to you.

KSTP reported last night that taxpayers have until the end of 2011 to buy energy efficient products to qualify for incentives, such as a $300 water heater tax credit. See the website for full details on what qualifies and the maximum amounts you can receive.

Also if you for replace your water heater with an energy efficient model, local utility companies such as Xcel and Centerpoint both offer water heater rebates (about $40-$200) , which you can find on the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency.

ENERGY STAR appliances add ‘Most Efficient’ category

September 1, 2011

(At the risk of sounding pretentious) My beloved theory of chase and flight posits a privileged class of people whose behaviors and tastes subordinate others “chase,” thus motivating the former to run — fast.

What does this have to do with appliances? Think of commercial-grade appliances and then look at the stainless steel kitchen package we sell for $1499 (through Sept. 5!).

Same goes for energy efficiency.

ENERGY STAR was created by The Man in 1992 to encourage the purchase and manufacture of energy-efficient home products through a voluntary program labeling the most-efficient products.

Think Studio 54 for dishwashers.

But now that ENERGY STAR is old enough to vote and buy cigarettes, entry to the club is less exclusive; 75% of dishwashers qualified as ENERGY STAR by 2009 standards.

Says Consumer Reports:

It’s good news that products have become more energy efficient. But when many or most of the products in a category qualify for the Energy Star, it makes it harder, not easier, for consumers to identify the truly exceptional products.

It would seem the manufacturers won this chase, until ENERGY STAR’s Most Efficient program was launched this year.

The 2011 efficiency clique calls out the best in four categories, including clothes washers and refrigerators.

Here’s a sampling of the best washers and refrigerators:

LG 3.9 cu. ft. True Steam Washer in Cherry Red (#WM3360HRCA)

Not only is it sexy, this LG washer kills allergens, can maintain cleaning performance without heating the water and has a 15-minute wash option for us procrastinators. And it’s also on sale through Labor Day.

Frigidaire 4.2 cu. ft. Affinity Washer with Ready Steam (#FAFS4272LW)

This Frigidaire steam washer offers a little more capacity, NSF certified cleaning power and power saver cycle that apparently reduces energy use by 60%.

Frigidaire Affinity 4.4 cubic foot washer with Ready Steam (#FAFS4474)

This Frigidaire washer is the big sister to the previous (more capacity) plus an allergen cycle.

Electrolux 5.1 cu. ft. Perfect Steam Washer (#EWFLS70JSS)

This Electrolux steam washer also is NSF certified plus it fit the most clothes in one cycle and it has the fastest wash and dry time (if you have the dryer: 15 and 14 minutes, respectively).

And refrigerators: there were only two and there’s practically the same, save for depth. One will stick out from your cabinets, the other will sit back in line with them and set you back an additional $400.

LG cabinet-depth French-door refrigerator (#LFC21776ST)

LG's French Door Refrigerator (#LFC25766ST)

The Great Minnesota Appliance Sale

August 29, 2011

While we might not be “at” the Fair — as far as having a booth or being in the Grandstand — Warners’ Stellian annual State Fair appliance sale, Savings on a Stick, is a big one for us.

Not only do the Warners have a storied history with the Minnesota State Fair, but we also have some of our best deals (through Labor Day).

Because I’m a notorious spiller (and when are stains more apropos than during fair time?), I’m going to play favorites and talk laundry.

You can replace your washer and dryer for as little as $699 (which includes delivery, re-installation and recycling of your old units in the Twin Cities metro) with this Amana laundry pair.

But the smartest move is to upgrade to a front load washer and dryer — which tend to offer more capacity while using less water and energy. Energy Star washers can make up for the cost of the dryer in energy savings over their estimated lifetime. Plus, this Frigidaire washer and dryer pair is $300 off right now.

My personal favorite laundry feature, though, is steam. You can get the cleaning power in you washer (plus some more capacity) and the refreshing capabilities in your dryer for a few hundred more, starting with this Frigidaire steam washer and steam dryer.

If you happened to see us at the Eco Experience building in the Common Cottage exhibit on Sunday, you probably were lucky enough to score a $50 off coupon. In fact, there might still be some left if you hurry…

Common Cottage Eco Experience at the Minnesota State Fair

August 25, 2011

Again this year, Warners’ Stellian appliances among other eco-friendly home ideas in the Eco Experience Common Cottage exhibit at the Minnesota State Fair.

Sure the house has a smart design and is constructed from reused and reclaimed materials, but you can also learn tips to improve the house you have: increase the energy efficiency of your home with an energy audit, incorporate composting and recycling systems, improve indoor air quality and install eco-friendly kitchen surfaces and appliances.

And if that doesn’t get you going, there are backyard chickens on the patio, covered by part of the now-defunct Metrodome roof (and a super pretty natural gas grill from Warners’ Stellian).

If you’re intersted in improving the energy efficiency of your home, you’ll be introduced to the best resources for financing your energy improvements, from loans, rebates, tax credits, or grants.

My camera ran out of batteries before I could take pictures of the STUNNING kitchen, with its blue-green colored reclaimed cabinets and recycled glass counter tops, but I can show you the smart and sexy appliances we chose to showcase this year:

Liebherr refrigerator

The architects on this project specifically requested Liebherr, and we couldn’t have agreed more. Liebherr goes beyond being super energy efficient (27% over federal standards) to become the most sustainable refrigerators; its refrigerators are manufactured in the greenest way out there. Plus, its two compressors ensure premium food preservation. Basically, your fresh (local?) foods will last way longer because the dry air from the freezer won’t disturb the humidity in the refrigerator.

Electrolux induction range

Elements on this Electrolux induction range automatically detect the presence of magnetic cookware, activate the induction field and adjust it to the exact size of the pan. This means that no energy is wasted heating anything else but the cookware holding your food. Induction is 20% more efficient than electric and 70% more efficient than gas, though it boasts the same power and responsiveness that cooks love.

Bosch dishwasher

Not only is it whisper quiet, this Bosch dishwasher uses only 2.4 gallons of water per wash; the average kitchen faucet flows about 4 to 7 gallons per minute!

LG washer/dryer combination

 

This ventless LG washer / dryer combo takes up less space and washes and dry in one appliance. Plus the washer is Energy Star rated, meaning it uses less energy and water to do its job.


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