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A Guide To Buying Energy Efficient Home Appliances

by Jacob Blanca

It will cost you more up front to select energy-efficient appliances for your home, but they will save you cash in the long run and reduce your environmental impact. Both the sales price and the expected energy consumption are weighed when purchasing new appliances. In many instances, by purchasing the more costly, more energy-efficient model, you may actually save money.

When purchasing eco-friendly appliances, there are many things to consider: their star rating for energy efficiency, how much water they use the amount of raw materials and energy used to make them, whether or not they can be recycled and the total carbon footprint of the company.

Ask about special offers which are energy-efficient. To encourage consumers to purchase energy-efficient appliances, government grants, low-interest loans or other incentive programmes are often offered. Ask what grants are available in your area to your salesperson or local authority.

Read the label for The Energy Guide.  The FTC needs this yellow and black mark to be applied to most new appliances. It specifies the appliance’s estimated annual energy consumption. This helps you to compare different brands and models’ efficiency or annual energy use. However do practice common sense and note that a massive fridge freezer rated A++ would still use more energy than a much smaller refrigerator rated lower.

In Australia, all refrigerators, freezers, clothes washers and dryers, dishwashers, air conditioners and televisions are required to bear a label displaying their star rating for energy efficiency. This varies from one to 10 red stars, with a greater number of stars indicating a more environmentally friendly device. An estimation of the appliance’s annual energy usage in kilowatt hours per year is also given in the mark. Although it may not mean much to the average consumer, this number provides a basis for comparison.

A six-star Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme (WELS) rating is also present in washing machines and dishwashers. The higher the ranking for the blue-star, the better.

Fridges and Freezers

Fridges and freezers account for a large portion of the energy usage of a household. Ask yourself if there’s a huge fridge freezer you need. Chest freezers are slightly more energy efficient because when the door is open, they maintain cold temperatures, while vertical standing models tend to lose a lot of cold air when open.

You should consider replacing your refrigerator with a newer, more energy efficient model if it is more than 10 years old. If everybody in the UK upgraded their refrigerator and freezer to the recommended Energy Saving Trust, it is estimated that we will save more than £ 730 million and more than 500,000 households’ equivalent carbon emissions.

Remember to send out your old recycling equipment.

Washing Machines and Dryers

A washing machine must have at least a 3.5 star energy rating and a 4 star water rating to be considered to be energy-efficient. Although more expensive than a less efficient machine, over its lifetime, it will save you 25 per cent of running costs. Front-loading washing machines use half as much energy as top loaders, and by only making full loads and washing clothes in cold water, you can further reduce your energy bills.

The cheapest and most eco-friendly option is to hang your clothes out to dry, but when buying a dryer, look for at least a 2 star rating.

Dishwashers

Only run your dish washer when it is full and if it has one, select the ‘eco’ mode. A study by the University of Bonn suggested that less water and energy was used than washing by hand in a dishwasher. The study did not take the energy and resources that went into the production of the machine into account. If it is more than 10 years old, but only if you use it a lot, you should consider replacing your dishwasher with a more energy efficient model.
Each star reduces your usage costs by 30 percent per year by opting for a dishwasher with an energy rating of 3.5 stars or more. For even greater savings, use the cycle of the economy.

Ovens and Cooktops

A significant amount of energy can be used by an electric oven.  Using your burner, if necessary, as it transfers the heat directly to the food.  On the market, there are low-power electric gas that will directly plug into a standard mains socket. Their utilisation of power is limited.    Compared to electricity generated by burning coal, natural gas emits about one quarter of the amount of carbon dioxide, so gas ovens are best.  Choose a model that is fan-forced for a 30 per cent energy savings compared to a traditional oven if you buy an electric oven.  The most successful choice by far is induction cooktops. They use 65% less energy than electricity and about half as much energy as coal.

Heating and Air-Conditioning

Each extra star on a gas heater will save you 10 percent in consumption costs, and the same amount will be saved by turning the temperature down by 1 degree on the thermostat. By locating heaters away from windows, closing blinds and shutting doors, minimise energy consumption.

A good old fan is the most eco-friendly alternative to air conditioning. Opt for an evaporative air cooling system that utilises one tenth of the strength of an air conditioner if you live in a dry region of Australia. Buy a unit that has at least a 4.5 star energy rating if you opt for air conditioning. By insulating it and adding exterior shades to minimise the amount of sun that gets in, you can also keep your house cool.

Televisions

Each year, one in four Australians buys a new television. By law, a minimum degree of energy efficiency must be attained for any television sold or supplied within Australia and New Zealand. An Energy Ranking must also be shown on every television in a shop.

The Energy Rating Label tells you how much energy the TV consumes per year and gives you a star rating that helps you to equate its quality with the same-size televisions. TV settings and functionality can also lead to the cost of running your TV. The rational formula to bear in mind, simply put, is that the more your TV has to work, the more energy it has to consume. There is a very minimal effect on most of the items mentioned below, but it is worth keeping in mind

One of the easiest ways to save money on electricity is to reduce the amount of energy that your TV requires.

LED televisions: LED televisions are the most energy efficient. LED TVs use less power than LCD & Plasma TVs of the same size and can save you up to 30-70% more power than any other form of TV.

LCD TVs: LCD TVs are known as Plasma TVs for having a longer lifespan. LCD televisions consume less power than older televisions and plasma televisions. This means that by upgrading to an LCD TV, owners of one can find slight energy savings on their electricity bill.

Plasma TVs: 2 common reasons for people to prefer Plasma over LED or LCD are their price point and colour range. Plasma TVs are however, notorious for having a shorter lifetime. A flat screen plasma TV can be for you if you are looking for an affordable, energy-efficient TV.

Water Pumps

This could either swimming pool water pumps or rainwater tank pumps and filtration systems.
For a hose or garden watering system, most rainwater tank pumps are perfectly capable of offering good water pressure. You may need a heavy duty model if you want one to pump water to your domestic supply, for example for the laundry or toilet. In any case, contact an experienced tank/pump supplier or plumber. At least 20L a minute should be supplied by a good domestic pump, which is about the same rate as a normal domestic town water tap; but most can handle more than this. The more the pump needs to serve water sources, the higher its overall flow rate needs to be.

A power supply will be necessary for the pump, so a waterproof external power point will be required nearby. You would need an electrician to install one if you don’t have one. Do not attach to a distant power point using an extension cord (indoors, for example) as it may not be weatherproof and thus may be dangerous.

Water Efficiency

Upgrading to water efficient appliances and fixtures is going to greatly reduce your water usage.   There are a few ways to do this.  Combined with rational water usage, water-efficient appliances and fixtures save money and help to maintain our reserves at sustainable levels.  Washing machines, sinks, taps and toilets are the main water users in the building.  By addressing the below you will help to reduce your water consumption and energy use.

Toilets:  In an average flush, the water rating label indicates how much water is used. By upgrading your toilets it will save 50kL and $148 per year on water bills by replacing an old single-flush toilet (12L flush) with a 4-star toilet (3.5L flush). It will optimise water savings by using the half-flush button wherever possible.

Low_flow Taps:  By mixing air into the water flow, low-flow taps amount of water is significantly reduced, this gives the feel and feeling of total water flow.

Showerheads For Showers:  Flow rates for showers are in litres per minute (L/min) on the water rating mark. Energy costs will also be saved because it will be necessary to heat less water.

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