For many, the green movement has become less of a soapbox issue, but instead a genuine way of life. People are outfitting their refrigerators with sustainable, organic, locally-grown produce and their closets are brimming with American-made sustainable non-sweatshop cotton clothing. Another big indicator of whether you’re truly green is whether or not you have energy efficient appliances. From TVs to refrigerators to convection ovens, the energy efficient appliance has long been a staple in homes.
Since energy efficient appliances have been around for quite a while, it’s inevitable to question whether these products are worth the price. Of course, it depends. It depends on the size and age of the appliance in question, as well as your definition of “savings”.
According to Energy Star and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the average U.S. household spends $2,200 per year on energy – most of which is spent on heating and cooling. Energy Star-rated appliances consume 20% to 30% less energy, on average, than stated by federal standards. An Energy Star refrigerator, for instance, will reduce your utility bill by $165 over the lifetime of your fridge.
Some people who buy energy efficient don’t consider savings first, as many would think. Savings may not even be a thought at all. A recent study found that people don’t necessarily buy energy-efficient products for their eco-friendly properties nor do they do so for their savings in utility bills. Instead, they are motivated by the products’ side benefits.
But what exactly are these so-called side benefits? Wanting a longer battery life from a notebook computer, for instance, is one such perk. Another is design. In 2011, 96% of TVs were shipped with the Energy Star rating. Consumers go for flat-screen TVs the most, and flat-screens also tend to use less energy. Washing machines captivate 60% of the consumer market, and many are front-loading models, which are believed to be gentler on clothes.
Whether you buy an appliance for its design or productivity, and whether energy efficiency is a first or last thought when purchasing a product, at least you’ll have peace of mind that you’ll be saving money and the planet one appliance at a time.