Posts Tagged ‘Energy Star’

Minnesota’s appliance stimulus rebate program approved

December 15, 2009

The U.S. Department of Energy finally approved Minnesota’s “Trade In & Save Appliance Program” (aka Dollars for Dishwashers, Cash for Appliances, etc.) with a target start date of March 10, 2010.

Part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the program will offer approximately 25,000 rebates for consumers who buy an Energy Star-rated replacement for the following appliances:

Energy Star appliances use 20 percent less energy than the standard model. As shown above, refrigerators and freezers must be recycled to receive the full rebate amount. The reason for this is to encourage consumers to take these energy-suckers completely off the grid, rather than using them as spares or selling them. A fridge purchased in the 1990s carries more than double the energy costs of a new Energy Star model.

Warners’ Stellian recycles (and delivers) appliances for free with minimum purchase ($499).

Rebates are limited to one per household and cannot be applied to previous purchases. Check the Energy Star Web site and the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) for additional rebates.

Don’t overlook the money saved by replacing sooner. A refrigerator, washer and dishwasher bought in the ’90s cost $207 more per year in utility costs than current, energy-efficient models.

Warners’ Stellian has officially partnered with the state Office of Energy Security to offer in-kind services that help keep administrative costs down to ensure the maximum amount of rebates for the approximately $5 million our state will receive.

Sign up for our “Cash for Appliances” e-mail list and we’ll keep you informed of the latest state and federal news about the rebate program.

To sign up, simply e-mail me at stimulus@warnersstellian.com with SUBSCRIBE in the subject line.

Look your wine in the eye

December 1, 2009

The Liebherr HWS1800 cradles 18 bottles in the lap of wine luxury.

If you’re like me, your wine experience is limited to the three wise men: Carlo Rossi, Robert Mondavi and — of course — Charles “Three-Buck-Chuck” Shaw.

I’m a beer girl.

But, Liebherr’s HWS 1800 wine compartment is just freakin’ cool.

Plus, inasmuch as I love craft beer, I can understand the desire to collect and mature fine wine. You know, the really good stuff.

And if you’ve got it, why wouldn’t you flaunt it? Don’t banish it to the basement or under your counter — display it at eye level!

The fully integrated design allows this stainless steel unit to sit flush with cabinets. And the recessed “pocket” handle and lack of exterior branding won’t interrupt the look of your existing kitchen.

Now, it’s just a little guy, measuring 18-by-24 inches, which is the same exact dimensions as a built-in coffee system or steam oven.

But that compact footprint wants for nothing.

Side-by-side wine compartments: because one is the loneliest number.

Wine flavor is like the Princess and the Pea; it’s affected by the tiniest environmental factors. Light, temperature, humidity, vibration, position and air quality all stand to compromise the flavor of maturing wine. But Liebherr counters each threat with strategic technology and design:

  • Tinted glazed doors block UV rays.
  • Precise controls keep temperature where you set it (generally 55 degrees), even if that means heating the cabinet
  • Fifty percent to 80 percent relative humidity prevents cork shrinkage.
  • Untreated wood shelving emits no odor.
  • LED lighting creates no heat (plus it’s energy-efficient and long-lasting).
  • A charcoal filter perfects air quality by eliminating dust, dirt and odors.
  • Compressor design minimizes vibration, which can stir up fine sediment, and noise

I don’t think they’re missing anything, are they?

p.s. Liebherr is pretty much the greenest refrigeration, not only in its products but its manufacturing process as well.

A visit to the Idea Farm

November 20, 2009

This Tuesday I had the pleasure of touring architect/builder/remodeler Peter Vujovich‘s Idea Farm in Afton.

A view of the Idea Farm's kitchen

Peter built the Idea Farm — his home — to combine sophisticated architecture with global responsibility. He achieved the highest rating from green building standard and certification program MN Greenstar, but explained to me that he wanted to achieve that Gold Star rating in ways more accessible than just buying solar panels and a gray water recirculating system.

Can you believe that his energy bill is only $300 — for the entire YEAR? And I wish you could see the grounds, because although Peter and his wife, Jill, only finished the house some months ago, the landscape and the age of the trees — which were simply “moved” to accommodate the construction — would indicate that this house has been around forever.

I was absolutely blown away by the simple and smart design of the Idea Farm, but you have to see it to understand. So here’s a video clip from the “Blueprint for Green” interview with Peter and Jill.

(BTW, on an appliance geek note: I was so excited to see that Peter had a Liebherr BioFresh refrigerator, because it’s the perfect pick for him. Not only is it the leanest, greenest fridge, BioFresh stretches the life of his homegrown produce weeks past what a normal fridge could.

This is especially helpful to him because when a certain crop is ready to pick, there’s just a massive influx. So, he is able to stretch that harvest unfrozen over about four weeks.)

Other highlights: petting the horses, hearing Peter recount his moments earlier 5-mile bike race against a horse — seriously,  eating his homemade pickles, my co-worker taking home a pumpkin for Thanksgiving pie, finding out that Peter generally showers outdoors (probably through December, he guesses) or inside (with his plants, which sit on shelves in the shower), the laundry basket that slides through a hole in the wall from his bedroom to his laundry room. The last item, I’m seriously obsessed with — so smart.

Want Dollars for Dishwashers?

November 17, 2009

Though it lacks a pithy catchall like Cash for Clunkers, the Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program — or Cash for Appliances as I like to call it — is close to being approved for the state of Minnesota.

Administered by the state Department of Energy Security, the program likely will offer one rebate per household while supplies last of $100-$200 for the purchase of a qualifying appliance beginning around March 2010 (or later; it was first expected to begin this fall!)

Qualifying appliances mean Energy Star-rated models of refrigerators, freezers, clothes washers and dishwashers. So waiting until March to replace your stove, microwave or dryer is NOT smart. Though, neither is waiting in general.

You’re thinking, “I bought my kitchen only 12 (or something) years ago. It can’t be that bad!”

Consider this: A refrigerator, washer and dishwasher bought in the 1990s cost an average $207 more per year in utility costs than current, energy-efficient models.

A washer purchased in this decade still costs an average of nearly 3x more to run than a 2009 Energy Star model.

So in the months waiting, you’re actually spending more money, not saving it.

Brands like Frigidaire are offering up to $150 in Energy Star rebates, which end in November. And many utility companies already offer incentives to replace your appliances with Energy Star models. For example, Shakopee Public Utilities offers $60 to replace a dishwasher and $65 for refrigerators, freezers and washers.

$150 + $60 + ($65 x 3) = $405 in rebates.

See DSIRE (Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency) for a full list of residential incentives.

The state was granted about $5 million from the federal government for the program, and about $400,000 of that will be used towards administration, such as rebate processing. So only an estimated 25,000 rebates will be available.

Warners’ Stellian and other retailers were asked to commit our own in-kind funds for serivices like consumer education, which is exactly what you see going on here.

If you’d like to receive news alerts related to the Cash for Appliances program, e-mail stimulus@warnersstellian.com with the subject SUBSCRIBE.

STrib’s John Ewoldt: Don’t wait for the stimulus, buy now!

November 12, 2009

Star Tribune columnist John Ewoldt included this weekend’s Extreme Warehouse Sale in Thursday’s Variety section:

You could wait for the “dollars for dishwashers” rebate program next year, but I’ll wager that sale prices will dry up due to the rebate. For a better deal now, try Warners’ Stellian appliances extreme warehouse sale (550 Atwater Circle, St. Paul, 651-222-0011, www.warnersstellian.com). It’s from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Many appliances, including overstocks and scratch-and-dents, are offered below cost. Others in boxes are special purchases for the event.

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An early view of the Extreme Warehouse Sale setup, as seen in Thursday's Star Tribune.

He restated his “buy now for a better deal” point on WCCO-830 radio this morning (click here to listen: JohnEwoldt-ExtremeSale — the end got cut off because my cell phone is archaic).

He’s absolutely right that the deals now will be better than the federal Energy Star rebate program slated for March. Details should be released around next week, but I think it’s safe to say the program will likely offer only one rebate per household ($100-$200) and the supply will be limited.

Why 300 CFM, Energy Star audit and the upcoming appliance stimulus

October 23, 2009

Faber Rangehoods: Kitchen Ventilation 101, CFM – what is it?

Behold the Faber Inca Smart. A 28" 250 CFM Hood Liner (#630006288)

Behold the Faber Inca Smart. A 28" 250 CFM Hood Liner (#630006288)

Another of the most frequently asked questions in our stores is “What is the maximum CFM I can have on my hood/over-the-range (OTR) microwave before I have to look into a make-up air system?”

The answer is 300 CFM, but why (other than it’s Minnesota code)?

Faber Rangehood‘s blog answered that question, plus offered a good explanation of the misunderstood CFM.

Also, a situation of negative pressure could also occur when too much air is pulled out of the home and it is not replaced by air from the outside. In today’s construction the homes are becoming more and more air tight and when too much air is pulled out of a home, you need to sometimes “make up” for that lost air by pumping outside air into the home. In colder climates this is a huge issue, in most parts of Canada there are laws in place about maximum cfm’s before a make up air system has to be installed (typically 300 cfm is the threshold).

Faberhoods.blogspot.com

Faberhoods.blogspot.com

Sub-Zero / Wolf Drastically Cuts Carbon Output

Rumor mill blog Appliance Advisor reported that Sub-Zero and Wolf ditched their carbon- and platinum-finish lines, along with several handle options. I previously blogged about the distinctive look of carbon.

I know it doesn't look colorful, but look at how much this family loves the distinction of Sub-Zero's carbon stainless steel finish! It's a departure from the ubiquity of SS, yet it retains the much-beloved sophistication. Call it compromise.

I still can't get over how happy this family is about its carbon Sub-Zero appliances.

Guess it’s not for everyone.

Energy Star Appliances May Not All Be Efficient, Audit Finds

energystarThe New York Times reported an internal audit conducted by the Deparment of Energy concluded the Energy Star program needed tighter tracking of appliance manufacturers using the energy-efficient label.

Some believe this wakeup call will lead to tighter standards and perhaps will supply the push needed to create a “super star” program IDing the top 5% of energy-efficient appliances.

Warners’ Stellian, in cooperation with Minnesota Greenstar, already promotes distinction of appliance energy use by tiers.

Declutter and Purge Your Kitchen to the Necessities, the Checklist

Do you really need two garlic presses? If you think you do, you need some serious help. I found just that help on Hello Kitchen (via Lifehacker). Print out the cute and practical kitchen checklist to separate necessity from redundancy. Pull each item to a quilt spread near your kitchen, and donate what remains.

hellokitchen.com

hellokitchen.com

Minnesota to get $5 million for rebates on appliances

Details are still being hashed out by the Minnesota DOE on the $5 million “dollars for diswashers” Energy Star-rated appliance rebate program, funded by federal stimulus program.

Our own operations director/co-owner Robert Warner helped advise the team responsible for state’s plans for the money (which appliances if replaced would make the biggest energy dent, etc.)

The program, which is expected to begin in March, has yet to receive approval, but it probably look something like this:

  • $200 for refrigerators/washers
  • $150 for dishwashers
  • $100 for freezers

The program limits one appliance rebate per household, meaning about 25,000 households will get a rebate.

Some say the months-away start will delay appliance purchase, but with the energy savings lost in waiting several months to purchase (see Energy Star’s savings calculator) and the current low prices characteristic of this season, buying now could be an even better deal — with less-crowded showrooms :)

If you’re contemplating a purchase and you don’t know what to think or if you just want to know more about the program,  please call me at our corporate office (Google it) or contact me at jawarner (at) warnersstellian (dot) com (sorry, don’t want any spammers!) with any questions about the forthcoming program. I’ll e-mail/call you with more details as they’re finalized.

U of M’s ICON Solar House

September 25, 2009

Can modern, solar-powered design be livable? That was the concept behind the University of Minnesota’s ICON Solar House team.

Students from disciplines ranging from business to design to engineering took up the challenge of designing, building, and operating the most attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered house. Next month, the team and the house will travel to Washington, D.C. for the U.S. Department of Energy‘s Solar Decathlon contest, in which the house will be displayed on the National Mall for three weeks along with 19 other houses from competing colleges.

It’s called a decathlon because the students’ house will be judged from a set of 10 criteria (including appliances — we love these people!).

The Icon Solar House’s Dan Handeen was gracious enough to give a tour of the project Wednesday, so we could see how far the house had come since we got involved some months ago when the house didn’t even have walls!

Mary Stage (Web administrator) and Carla Warner (director of sales) pose with Dan Handeen outside the U of M's Icon Solar House.

I took this photo of Mary Stage (Web administrator) and Carla Warner (director of sales) with Dan Handeen outside the U of M's Icon Solar House.

The combination of livable design and airtight engineering impressed us. We all laughed at the concept of a “sleeping alcove” — which is basically a room sized to the dimensions of a full-size bed — but the high ceilings and amenities (towel warmer?) surpassed our expectations for a 800532-square-foot home. (Update: Dan said the finished floor area of the house was even less than I had read about in other stories about the house.)

Dan Handeen shows us the energy meters.

Dan Handeen shows us the energy meters.

Dan said the team wants the ICON Solar House to stand out from the sterile-type designs they witnessed at the last contest. Rather, the students want to create something that people can actually see themselves living in. (See more on the team’s ideas for the ICON Solar House.)

Solar panels help power the house, Dan explained. But the house is already super energy-efficient, so teams that roll the meter backward — producing more energy than they consume — are awarded 100 points. The team that produces the most energy gains an extra 50 points, Dan said.

Obviously, we’re cheering for them. We’re so proud to be a part of such an inspiring project and help select the right appliances to help the team score the trophy and the bragging rights. All of the appliances in the ICON Solar House have the highest Energy Star ratings.

Kitchen-in-progress.

Kitchen-in-progress

dw

It's a cabinet! It's a drawer! No, it's a DishDrawer!

Dan startled me when he pulled out that wide, far-right cabinet to reveal a dishwasher, which is embarrassing because I work for Warners’ Stellian and knew all about the Fisher & Paykel DishDrawers. But these were so well-integrated (re: paneled) and perfect for the small kitchen space that I confused them for cabinets.

The 24-inch-wide Liebherr refrigerator (left) will also be paneled and was cooling lunch for the crew in the meantime.

It's too bad this cooktop will only be used to boil water. That's some lucky water...

That's some lucky water...

Perhaps the most strategic choice of appliances in the kitchen was the Wolf 30-inch induction cooktop. Each team competing in the Solar Decathlon must perform the same set of tasks, which mimic things people do in every day life.

One task is to boil 5 pounds of water. Induction cooking is extremely efficient because energy is only supplied to the pot. And no wasted heat means water generally boils faster on induction cooking surfaces.

Dan says the team was planning on selling the house, but the U of M has been so impressed with the project it might want to keep the house all to itself. I certainly would.

Dan Handeen shows us the energy meters.

Dan Handeen shows us the energy meters.


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