Archive for the ‘Sustainability’ Category

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.

Xcel will pay you $70 to retire your beer fridge

September 21, 2011

Xcel wants your beer fridge. And if you’re a residential customer in Minnesota, Xcel will actually pay YOU $70 to come pick it up and recycle it.

Usually, Xcel pays $35 (I did this back in January; shame I didn’t wait), but the retirement reward is double now through the end of November 2011.

To qualify, it must be a functional, second refrigerator, capable of making ice.

Now, just imagine the happiness you can buy me with that $70.

Don’t be greedy, that’s my commission. You’ll agree once you hear how much a beer fridge costs to run.

Not an Xcel customer? Minnesota Power offers up to $85 to pick up old, working refrigerators. Here’s a list of energy providers with similar programs.

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)

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.

Canning classes help you preserve the season, just like mom did

August 12, 2011

When I was growing up, we went strawberry and raspberry picking every season to make a freezer full of jelly to enjoy and give as gifts all year long. To this day, I can’t eat store-bought jelly, because my mom has ruined me on anything that doesn’t taste as fruity and fresh as her own stock.

Since moving out, I’ve missed the annual preservation tradition and wanted to learn the science for myself. Apparently, I’m not the only one.

The Star Tribune featured canning's "comeback" last week.

Homesteading is like, super trendy right now, so canning has enjoyed quite the resurgence in the past couple years. Some people have taken it up to continue local, sustainable eating into the colder months; some out of a misguided attempt to save money (it ain’t cheaper). But many just want to make something absolutely delicious.

The Star Tribune published a list of upcoming canning classes, for both newbies and those looking to brush up their skills.

Warners’ Stellian is also planning to host a canning class at our St. Paul store in September, in cooperation with the Mississippi Market Co-op and one of my favorite bloggers and Master Food Preserver, Liz McMann, of Food Snobbery Is My Hobbery.

Stay tuned for details, or email me at jawarner at warnersstellian.com for more info. Feel free to let me know if there’s anything else you’d like us to do. Otherwise, I’ll just keep creating events to satisfy selfish curiosities :)

6 tips to reduce your energy use and energy bill

May 9, 2011

The biggest step toward making your house energy efficient is choosing Energy Star appliances. Energy Star appliances offer 10-50% energy savings compared to standard, new appliances.

So, I’m not even talking how much energy savings you’ll get from unplugging your decade-or-so old refrigerators, washers, freezers and dishwashers.

But just because Energy Star only rates those four appliance categories, doesn’t mean you can’t be energy efficient on your stove and dryer, for instance.

Here are six ways to further reduce your energy bill by staying mindful of ways you can save on home energy use.

1. Stop rinsing your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, which  wastes up to 20 gallons of water. Energy Star dishwashers use only 4 gallons of water on average.

2. Water heating consumes about 90% of the energy it takes to operate a clothes washer. Switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut energy use in half. Using the cold cycle reduces energy use even more.

3. Use the moisture sensor option on your dryer, which automatically shuts off the machine when clothes are dry, saving energy and reducing wear and tear on your clothes caused by over-drying.

4. Choose the right-sized pot on stove burners and keep it covered to cook more efficiently and keep your kitchen cooler.

5. Move your refrigerator away from the stove, dishwasher, or heat vents. Make sure the door seals are airtight. Also, keep your refrigerator and freezer stocked to hold temperature better and operate more efficiently.

6. Microwaves only use about half as much electricity as regular ovens, so using them is already a smart alternative. But you can save even more energy if you defrost food in the refrigerator instead of the microwave and cook food in its serving dish save the cost of the water used to do twice as many dishes.

Living Green Expo: Enter to win energy-efficient LG appliances

May 5, 2011

When choosing our returning spot for this year’s Living Green Expo, we went with our gut…and headed straight for the food.

I have a feeling you might, too.

This Saturday and Sunday at the State Fairgrounds, watch (and taste) live cooking demonstrations by top local chefs on the Warners’ Stellian Celebrity Chefs stage in the 4-H building, part of the Local Chefs, Local Food experience.

Chefs like Scott Pampuch of Corner Table and other favorites like Birchwood Cafe, Common Roots and Chef Shack will be cooking on stage while talking about what local food means to their cooking.

Just west of the audience area of the stage, come visit us to find out how you can enter to win $5,000 in LG appliances by completing the Living Green Challenge.

Products are for representation only (we figured you'd want to pick your own stuff!).

Basically, you learn about living more sustainably by visiting different Living Green Expo exhibits and collect stamps in each category. Once your challenge card is completed, drop it in our high efficiency top load LG washer (yes, I said top load washer).

You can also talk to our appliance experts about the latest models’ energy- and water-saving technology and our own award-winning recycling program.

Nothing says Happy Earth Day like reducing your wastestream

April 22, 2011

Saving 20% sounds like a good deal to lots of us. Save half? Even better, right?

So you can bet that around here we get pretty excited about the fact that we save about 75% of the waste we generate from entering landfills.

And we’re not the only ones pumped up about our appliance packaging recycling program.

Recognize the guy on the left?

Left, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman Bill Warner, Carla Warner, Jeff Warner, Zach Shields and Robert Warner. At right is our Councilmember Lee Helgen.

Just in time for Earth Day, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman honored Warners’ Stellian with a Sustainable St. Paul Award for our efforts to reduce waste and recycle.

So, when you do your part to reduce your environmental impact by using Energy Star appliances, we do ours, by savings hundreds of tons of packaging from clogging our local landfills. Thanks to all our customers for their support in helping us make this crucial commitment.

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).

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?


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