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Moving into a new home is the perfect opportunity to make improvements and purchasing decisions that will make your house as energy-efficient as possible.
Among all the purchasing decisions you'll make that can affect your home's energy efficiency, choosing energy-smart appliances is at the top of the list. If you don't already know about the ENERGY STAR® program and how it can help you save money, you owe it to yourself to learn more.
The ENERGY STAR® program is a government initiative that offers businesses and consumers energy-efficient solutions, making it easy to save money while protecting the environment for future generations.
Since the ENERGY STAR® program began in 1992, U.S. consumers have purchased more than two billion ENERGY STAR® products and, in 2006 alone, U.S. consumers saved $14 billion because of the program.
There is a wide range of products and projects that ENERGY STAR® promotes, from ENERGY STAR® ratings for homes and building materials to ENERGY STAR® light fixtures and HVAC systems to consumer appliances. In all, there are more then 30 different products that have the ENERGY STAR® label, including:
ENERGY STAR® appliances are significantly more energy-efficient than standard models. With ENERGY STAR® products, you'll be making the energy-efficient choice without sacrificing features, style, or comfort.
In order for appliances to earn an ENERGY STAR® rating, they must meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.
When shopping for new appliances, look for the blue ENERGY STAR® label. The label means that that ENERGY STAR® refrigerator, ENERGY STAR® washer, or other ENERGY STAR® appliance exceeds minimum federal standards by a substantial amount.
Appliances account for nearly 20 percent of the average household's energy use. ENERGY STARÂ®-qualified appliances can save up to $100 a year in energy costs compared to standard appliances.
Here's how the significant savings happen:
When buying an appliance, remember that it has two price tags.
ENERGY STARÂ®-qualified appliances incorporate advanced technologies that use 10 -50% less energy and water than standard models. The money you save on your utility bills can more than make up for the cost of a more expensive but more efficient ENERGY STAR® model.
By purchasing ENERGY STAR® products, you may even qualify for a discount on your monthly electric bill or for additional tax credits and rebates through your local county or state.
Better for the Environment: Purchasing ENERGY STARÂ®-qualified appliances is a choice you can feel good about. Not only will you keep more of your family's hard-earned money in your pocket, you'll know that you're making a difference. ENERGY STAR® appliances save energy and help reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants at the source.
And remember that simple actions can make a big difference. If just one in 10 homes used ENERGY STAR® appliances, the change would be like planting 1.7 million new acres of trees.
Improved Quality and Durability: Energy-efficient appliances often include quality components surpassing those found in standard appliances. These can result in fewer mechanical problems, longer equipment life, and in many cases extended warranties.
Enhanced Performance: ENERGY STARÂ®-qualified appliances often outperform standard appliances due to improved design and advanced technologies. For instance, some ENERGY STARÂ®-qualified appliances include features that decrease operating noise, while others include technologies that reduce water use.
For top performance, premium features, and energy savings, look for energy-efficient clothes washers, refrigerators, dishwashers, room air conditioners, and dehumidifiers that have earned the ENERGY STAR® rating. The ENERGY STAR® label may appear on the appliance, the packaging, or the EnergyGuide label.
If you're ready to upgrade to an energy-efficient appliance, use our Appliance Buying Worksheet to keep your appliance details in one place.
Portions of this article originally appeared on the ENERGY STAR® website and have been used with permission.