Appliance Design · Dryer · Energy Efficiency · Energy Star

Dryers become the next Energy Star

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 6 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.

Budget-wise · Dishwashers · Energy Efficiency · Energy Star · Refrigerator · Washer · Window air conditioner

5 appliance myths that waste your time & money

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.

Design · Energy Efficiency · Energy Star

Appliance energy savings (on a stick)

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.

 

Budget-wise · Dishwashers · Dryer · Energy Star · Ranges · Refrigerator · Washer

Cyber Monday appliance deals

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.

Air conditioning · Dishwashers · Energy Efficiency · Energy Star · Events · Refrigerator · Sustainability

Appliance energy savings — on a stick

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.

cooking · Energy Efficiency · Energy Star

4 ways to cook more efficiently

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).

About Warners' Stellian · Budget-wise · Cash for Appliances · Energy Efficiency · Energy Star

Water heater tax credit 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.