Posted by Ellen Milich

Almost everyone is familiar with the Energy Star logo and know that it means something is more efficient when using energy, but until I began research I had no idea exactly what the criteria was. It turns out that there are stringent benchmarks that a product must reach before it carries the Energy Star label. Refrigerators and freezers (which consume the most household energy right after air conditioners, not that most of us have those in the Northwest anyway!) must consume between 15 and 40% less energy than other comparable models made after 2001. Think what the savings would be if you still have one of those seventies colored ones!! "Trading in your old beauty for a new Energy Star model would make such a dent in your utility bill that the new one could pay for itself in one or two years" (1).

Washing Machines are another big energy hog, and given that they have a relatively short life span (twelve-ish years) compared to other appliance relatives, this is a smart upgrade when the time comes. "Compared with the washer you bought in 1995, a 2007 Energy Star conventional top-loader uses about 40 percent less energy and about 25 percent less water. The 2007 Energy Star wash-plate top-loader uses about 60 percent less energy and about 30 percent less water. The 2007 Energy Star front-loader uses about 75 percent less energy and about 60 percent less water" (1). That's a lot of bang for your buck; water AND gas (or electric) savings.

So what's the bottom line in savings? According to the EPA the average home spends around $2,000.00 yearly on energy costs. Switching to Energy Star appliances can save up to $75.00 annually. Not to shabby.