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New appliances - Be an Energy Star

Posted 18 September 2014 6:56 PM by Tim Coutis

We’re always looking for ways to save both money and energy. Of course sometimes you have to spend money to save money. One way to do both is to consider the purchase of new appliances for your kitchen and laundry room. Not only will you spruce up you kitchen - who knows it may be the start of a complete make over - but you will also save money as today’s appliances are far more energy efficient than ever.

It all started after World War II when “Home Makers” of the time were introduced to a range of new products designed to make life easier. Developments in technology and manufacturing meant that appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines which had traditionally lasted for years became easier to make and thus disposable. This “planned obsolescence” was aided in great part by the emerging middle class’s interest in fashion and design. So, even if that old white refrigerator kept on humming, it wasn’t going to look good in your avocado colored kitchen - style would drive the upgrade.

Of course manufacturers continued to add improvements through features and functionality. New materials transformed the stove top burners into a “cook top” surface that could keep one dish warm while another was cooking. Traditional ovens could switch to convection ovens to cook meals twice as fast using less energy. New appliances appeared, most notably the microwave. Older appliances took on new life with changes in the American diet. The blender became a juicer, the juicer became a Vitamix. Toasters got bigger with more settings and wider slots to accommodate bagels and breakfast pastries. Refrigerators delivered ice and water without ever opening the door. And as houses got bigger, appliance grew in size and capacity right along with them.

It was the need for energy efficiency and growing environmental concerns, along with the computerization that brought the biggest change to our appliances. Standards of efficiency were raised by congress in the 1990’s and something called Energy Star Rating began to appear on the latest appliances being showcased at appliance stores.

According to the Energy Star Website “ENERGY STAR is the trusted, government-backed symbol for energy efficiency helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices. The ENERGY STAR label was established to:
Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants caused by the inefficient use of energy; and make it easy for consumers to identify and purchase energy-efficient products that offer savings on energy bills without sacrificing performance, features, and comfort.”

To earn the Energy Star label products must meet efficiency requirements set by the Environmental Protection Agency and based on a number of guiding principles. Further products must meet consumer expectations from a performance and features standpoint as well as contributing to energy savings nationwide. Energy efficiency should derive from technologies that are generally available from multiple manufactures and should be easily measured and verifiable. In the event a product is more expensive, the return on investment in energy savings must be clearly indicated.

There’s an old saying about by appliances, “measure twice, buy once.” It refers of course to the idea that what looks right in the showroom won’t necessarily fit in your kitchen. And while washers and dryers keep getting bigger, they are also getting smarter. Whether they’re using less water or less electricity, new Energy Star Rated appliances can also help you spend less money.

Check out Energy Star’s Website to learn more by clicking here.

And check out a timeline of milestones in Household Appliances history.

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