Monday, September 20, 2021
Sept. 20, 2021

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Energy Adviser: Energy Star appliances can reduce power bills


Shopping for a new appliance can be an overwhelming experience. Not only are there many manufacturers all making great claims and promises, but about half the models on the showroom floor seem to have more in common with a smartphone than they have with their cousins of a decade ago.

Whether you want an appliance that simply gets the job done or can talk to Alexa and offer traffic updates, the best appliances will almost always be Energy Star-rated.

Energy Star was started in 1992 by the Environmental Protection Agency as a voluntary labeling program designed to identify and promote energy-efficient products. Personal computers were the first machines to carry the label, but now more than 70 product categories — including homes — are adorned with the badge.

The blue Energy Star logo is something of a badge of honor. Any product carrying it has been certified to offer superior energy efficiency. Compared to their basic counterparts, Energy Star products use less power, often substantially less, which means households can see savings on their monthly energy bill without sacrificing comfort, style or convenience. The savings will be even greater when an Energy Star product replaces an old appliance.

For example, a particular model of Energy Star-certified top-freezer refrigerator uses less energy than a 60-watt lightbulb, according to the EPA.

Actual savings will vary depending on a number of factors, from household size, frequency of use and local energy rates. The Energy Star program estimates a typical household spends about $2,000 a year on energy, it also estimates those households can save about 30 percent if they use Energy Star appliances exclusively. Many Energy Star products that require water to function, think washing machines and dishwashers, also use less water than their standard counterparts.

It’s important to do some homework before buying any product. The Energy Star designation is important, but not the only thing to consider when making an investment. Spend some time researching which manufacturers are making good machines in the particular product category you’re looking at, then explore what options are available.

The good news is Energy Star products are typically available across the spectrum. You can save whether you’re looking for a budget friendly, basic model or something that offers the latest and greatest features and functions. All things being equal, the Energy Star-certified product might cost a little more upfront, but over the long term it will be more cost effective to use.

Investing in an energy efficient appliance will produce energy savings that add up significantly over the lifetime of the machine, often a decade or longer. And your future self will look back and thank you for being so smart and forward thinking when you made that big purchase.

Clark Public Utilities wants to help its customer get the best value out of the energy they use, that’s why we’re happy to help you learn how to outsmart energy waste.

At our website you can learn how to choose appliances that are even more efficient than the already great Energy Star-rated products. Simply search “shopping for appliances” To learn more about selecting the most efficient appliances available, and learn about how to have your old, working refrigerator or freezer recycled for free.

Energy Adviser is produced by Clark Public Utilities and relies on the expertise of utility energy counselors and staff, who provide conservation and energy use information. To contact us call 360-992-3355, email or visit