Does buying a slightly more expensive clothes dryer with an Energy Star on it really make that much of a difference to the environment?
The answer is yes.
Energy efficiency measures such as The Energy Star label have contributed to the fact that, despite economic growth of about 30%, energy use in the U.S. is still about the same as it was in 2000. Over the past four decades, these efficiency measures have actually contributed more to meeting America’s energy needs than oil, gas and nuclear power. The Energy Star program is estimated to have saved $430 billion on energy bills and curbed carbon pollution by 2.7 billion metric tons in the 30 years of its operation.
The NRDC notes that widespread use of efficient appliances, electronics, lighting, better insulation and equipment, could reduce carbon pollution by 550 million metric tons a year by 2050 (based on 1990 levels). This figure is equal to the electric power emissions produced by Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Virginia and California combined in 2016.
Energy efficiency or clean energy production has also created 2.2 million American jobs, five times the number created by the fossil fuel energy industry. Energy-efficient appliances can save a U.S. household up to $500 a year on utility bills. That number could increase to $840 by 2030.
So, what are the most eco-friendly, energy-efficient large appliances for your home out there today?
According to Energy Star, the Beko BFBF2412SS has the lowest annual energy use of all its certified refrigerators. The appliance uses only 294 kWh a year, which is less than half of the 657 kWh the U.S. Department of Energy estimates as the yearly American average.
However, there’s also a solar powered option from a company founded by the leader of NASA’s Advanced Technology Refrigeration Project. SunDanzer created the world’s first battery-free solar powered refrigerator, originally designed for off-grid consumers. Now it also carries the 15 cu. ft. DCRF450 and 10.2 cu. ft. DCRF290 that are more familiar designs for the average American home.
SunDanzer’s high-efficiency refrigerators and freezers have exceptionally low energy consumption that allows them to be powered by alternative energies such as solar, wind, fuel cells or batteries. They are made with a zero-maintenance, brushless, thermostatically controlled DC compressor and a low-frost system that reduces frost and moisture build up. The 15 cu. ft. DCRF450 uses only about 347 kWh of energy per year, so a single 250-350W solar panel is enough to power it in most cases.
Energy Star reports that the Electrolux EFLW427 clothes washer uses the least energy at only 60 kWh per year, and the Samsung WW22N6850Q uses the least water at 2,401 gallons per year. For dryers, Energy Star named the Samsung DV22N685H the most energy-efficient, with an estimated annual energy use of 145 kWh per year.
Samsung also has a new technology called “ecobubble” that allows detergent to penetrate fabric fibers without the use of hot water. This machine can use 40% less energy than a traditional motor does.
Is there such a thing as an eco-friendly air conditioner? Not really.
But the LG Art Cool Mirror is trying its best. It comes with built-in WiFi so you can control your AC with smart enabled devices. Of course, it’s got the Energy Star badge. It has LG’s unique skew fan and DUAL Inverter Compressor, which are both must-haves for energy efficiency and low noise.
“Air conditioner” has yet to become compatible with sustainability. In the meantime the LG Art Cool Mirror is better than most.
Toward True Sustainability
Household appliances have come a long way since Frigidaire introduced the first self-contained refrigerator in 1923. The trajectory for appliances continues to face increasing efficiency in all facets — energy, design and ease of use. Perhaps one day soon we’ll have an air conditioner that’s truly eco-friendly. We can only hope.
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