STANFORD UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF EARTH SCIENCES - EARTH SYSTEMS PROGRAM

Sustainable Choices

Replace Old Appliances With Energy-efficient Appliances

Simplicity
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Carbon Impact:
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Wallet Impact:
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Health Helper:
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Overview
Add up all the appliances in your house and you’ve got a significant portion of your utility bill. In recent years, big advances have been made in energy efficiency, so it’s usually not hard to find better options. For instance, refrigerators today use about 75% less energy than fridges in the 1970s did. Improvements like this can help you save on energy and water costs, and of course they can also do right by the environment. If you’re upgrading or replacing home appliances, look for the Energy Star label. Energy Star is a government program that assesses and certifies energy-efficient products to help consumers make good choices. Get Started by checking out the resources below.

Tips & Tricks
Get the right size. Make sure the product you're buying suits your needs. Oversized air conditioners, water heaters and refrigerators waste energy and money; in many cases they also don't perform as well.

Whenever possible choose appliances that run on natural gas rather than electricity. Usually it's more efficient to burn natural gas where it's needed—in your home—than to burn it at a power plant, convert the heat to electricity and then send the electricity over wires to your house. Look for dryers, stoves and water heaters that run on natural gas.

Think long term. Many of the most energy-efficient appliances cost more initially, but they'll save you money in the long run. Expect to keep most major appliances between 10 and 20 years. A more efficient appliance soon pays for itself; lower monthly utility bills over the lifetime of the appliance will more than offset a higher purchase price. In addition, the latest resource-efficient clothes washers and dishwashers not only save electricity, they also use a lot less water and can reduce your water bill.

Look for rebate programs. Many government bodies and energy providers have developed rebate programs to create incentives for buying energy-efficient products. Start you search by checking here.

Web & Print Resources
Energy Star label:
www.energystar.gov

Efficient appliance information and tips:
www.nrdc.org
www.aceee.org/consumerguide
www.eere.energy.gov

Efficient appliance shopping guide:
www1.eere.energy.gov

Rebate programs:
www.energystar.gov
www.pge.com/rebates

Fun Facts

Because they use less hot water compared to new conventional models, ENERGY STAR qualified dishwashers save about $90 over their lifetimes. Source

New refrigerators consume 75% less energy than those produced in the late 1970s. Source

Refrigerators with freezers on top use 10–15% less energy than a side-by-side model of equivalent size. Source