Top 10 most energy-efficient everything
By now everyone has gotten the memo that to get cozier at home we need to better insulate and seal our homes and we need to upgrade to more efficient heating and cooling systems, like ground-source (geothermal) or air-source heat pumps.
But according to a report entitled "Appliances, Lighting, Electronics, and Miscellaneous Equipment Electricity Use in New Homes", 'Other' end-uses (appliances, lighting, electronics, and miscellaneous equipment) have grown to the point that they account for about 40 percent of total residential primary energy consumption. The report adds that "miscellaneous energy is the fastest growing end-use in U.S. homes, projected to more than double in the next 20 years."
When I told this to some friends of mine in Colorado, they were delighted. They now had an excuse to recycle their 20 year old refrigerator and buy a better, modern fridge, with improved features, that would use a fraction of the energy of the old clunker.
I get emails at least once a week saying "Matt, my water heater [insert any other vital appliance here] just died and we have to get a new one today! Help! How do I find the most efficient one?" Finally, I can send desperate homeowners to a single source to find the most efficient . . . everything (almost).
How to find the top energy savers
TopTenUSA.org is an exceptionally valuable non-profit resource that does your homework for you. They make it easy for consumers to find the most energy- and money-saving models, which in turn encourages manufacturing innovations that can make products in the United States even more energy-efficient.
In some cases, your energy savings will actually pay for the entire cost of the replacement appliance over the course of its lifetime. It can often be more expensive to keep your old appliances.
TopTenUSA.org evaluates clothes washers, computers, dishwashers, freezers, LED lighting, monitors, refrigerators, televisions, vehicles and water heaters. In each category they list the top ten most efficient in a clean and easy to understand format. You can find the annual energy use, lifetime cost savings as well as links for where to buy. They'll also tell you whether there is an appliance rebate for that item available in your area.
Why should you care about finding one of the ten best appliances? Here's one example -- according to the EPA, if your clothes washer is more than 10 years old, you're paying over $135 more each year on your utility bill than you would if you owned a new ENERGY STAR qualified model.
Need ten more reasons? Here's the Top Ten Reasons to Go Energy Efficient from TopTenUsa.org
1. If you're going to waste money, waste it on something more fun than your electric bill.
2. Using energy efficiency measures alone, the U.S. can go a long way toward rolling its contribution to global climate change back to safe levels.
3. A new power plant can cost $4 billion to build. Customers foot the bill.
4. Older, inefficient technology was okay when energy was cheap and its climate impacts unknown. But energy prices are going up and so are average global temperatures.
5. The faster we burn oil, the lower world reserves get.
6. Buying oil overseas reduces U.S. political power and wealth. If the U.S. is Superman, overseas oil is kryptonite.
7. A mine is a terrible thing to waste. Coal production is destructive, dirty, and dangerous.
8. In many cases, the more efficient products simply work better.
9. Think of the next generation. Taking care of your house and family means taking care of natural resources.
10. In most cases, you don't have to spend more to save more. Energy-efficient choices are available at nearly all prices.