Energy efficiency is one of the most important factors that you need to consider while deciding to buy an appliance. As you know appliances are for long-term use. A reliable appliance may last at least ten years. According to ENERGY STAR, a new refrigerator with energy star will save more than $250 over five years. So, if you use your refrigerator for 10 years, you will save more than 500 dollars. Here is what to look for:
- Online Description for the Appliance: If you research for a particular appliance online, the description or specification section will mention if the appliance is ENERGYSTAR certified. It will also give you information about power usage in kwh (kilo-watt-hour).
- EnergyStar Sticker: If you go to an appliance store, you will see yellow ENERGYSTAR stickers attached to some of the appliances. These stickers indicate that the appliances are ENERGYSTAR certified. In general, the stickers will also have other relevant information such as power usage or kwh.
Let us assume that you want to buy an appliance which saves 100 kwh each year. The national average cost for 1 kwh power is 11 cents. This gives you $11 saving for each year. If you use the appliance for 10 years, it will save you $110. As you can see if the energy saving is more, you will save more money. A general rule of thumb is that an appliance with ENERGY START certification will save you significant amount of money over its lifetime.
It seems that radio talk show host Clark Howard differs from this view. He recommends buying appliances based on their total operating cost (energy, water, etc).