Do Energy Efficient Appliances Cost More?
When you walk into a large home improvement store you will see dozens of models of appliances lined up. As you browse among the choices, you may think that energy efficient products are prohibitively expensive to purchase. But a price tag on the front of an appliance at a home improvement store doesn’t always tell the whole story about cost. Knowing a few key facts can help you decide the true cost of a conventional appliance compared to an energy efficient model.
The meaning of Energy-Star certification
Energy Star certification is a government-backed symbol that helps people to recognize appliances that are energy efficient. When a product is Energy Star certified, it goes through substantial testing to confirm that it is substantially more efficient than the minimum standards set for basic appliances. If a product is Energy Star certified, a more expensive price tag must be offset by quantifiable savings on energy costs. Thus, a product may cost slightly more up front, but the EPA has determined that the initial increase will be made up by savings on utility bills.
Energy-Star rated appliances are required to be significantly more efficient than the typical appliance. An Energy-Star rated refrigerator can be 10% more efficient than a model that just meets the minimum US standards. According to a government website, energystar.gov, replacing an old fridge with a new Energy Star refrigerator can save up to $300 in energy costs over the life of the appliance. An Energy-Star washer uses up to 40% less water and 20% less energy than a typical ten-year-old appliance.
Considering that the average American family does at least five loads of laundry a week, this adds up to a substantial savings of both water and electricity. Switching from your 10-year-old top loading washer to a new front loading efficient model can save you almost $200 a year. Even if the new front-loading washer is slightly more than a standard machine, the savings add up quickly over the years. Washers and refrigerators are just two examples of energy efficiency, but there are Energy-Star rated options for almost every appliance made.
When consumers buy energy-efficient products like Energy Star Certified appliances it is a win for both the individual and the environment. If the appliances are initially more expensive than conventional products, there are often rebate programs that can help offset the higher initial cost. Rebates can often be found while shopping if you think to ask a salesperson.
Looking online at websites like energystar.gov or DSIREUSA.org can narrow down what rebates are available for your purchase. Rebates vary by state, so looking regularly can help you find the best rebate or product available. Sometimes rebates may be towards the actual purchase of a newly certified appliance, or they may be towards the safe disposal of the old appliance.
Rebates can also be applied to Solar, and with solar, your energy efficient appliances will run with even less energy and save you more. Check out Understand Solar’s blog post about solar in Texas understandsolar.com/texas-solar/.
Doing the math
Energy efficient products can initially seem more expensive than their counterparts that just meet minimum standards and requirements. When you account for the energy savings and potential rebates, however, the costs come down considerably. Consider the exponential savings that would result from replacing every appliance throughout your home, from your refrigerator to your furnace. The average home has 10 appliances that can be replaced with a more energy-efficient model. The savings as you become more energy efficient will be tangible. Comparing your new utility bills to those from when you had older and inefficient appliances will make every dime put towards Energy Star rated appliances feel like a very wise investment.