Appliances | GBRI

EnergySavingAppliances andEquipmentENERGY STAR AppliancesWater SoftenersWater HeatersScreen SaversAccording to ENERGY STAR, there are two price tags attached to appliances: the price paid to purchase the item and the cost of operating it. The cost of operation includes maintenance, water, and energy expenses. ENERGY STAR appliances can use anywhere from 10 to 50%less energy than standard appliances and are also water ecient, using as much as 67% less water.Most homes are lled with energy-using appliances, including refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, washing machines, and entertainment appliances, such as TV’s, home theatres, computers, and stereos. Since appliances normally have a long life, they tend to be ignored until they break down. How many homeowners ever calculate how much water and energy their clothes and dish washers are using? Most haven’t because, in the past, consumers in the United States didn’t need to worry about such things. Energy and water were cheap, and they let the government and manufacturers take care of it.However, today’s savvy, eco-conscious consumers are interested in lowering utility bills, and they pay a lot of attention to things like the EnergyGuide label, which indicates the estimated yearly operating cost and electricity use. It even indicates how operating costs for a particular model compare to similar models. ENERGY STAR also qualies computers and monitors as having energy-saving power management features.To maximize energy and water savings, every homeowner must be familiar with energy-saving appliances. They represent high-quality, state-of-the- art technology, specically designed to be eco-friendly. This section oers an overview of the ENERGY STAR concept and appliances.APPLIANCES Why do it? Environmental Qualities✓ Use less electricity, which becomes especially signicant if that energy comes from non-green sources✓ Use less water, so more water can be available for drinking and other purposes. Pros: ✓ Save money, electricity, and water (i.e. lower bills)✓ Better productivity. Cons:✓ ExpensiveMaintenance: Regular maintenance still required, but ENERGY STAR appliances are more reliable due to their eciency. Timeline: Need to take some time to assess the needs of your household, nd a suitable product, and have it professionally installed.Steps: 1. Determine your budget: are you willing to spend more now to save later? 2. Record how much you use each of your current appliances in order to determine what new energy-ecient appliances to purchase. Compare the data for your appliances to those certied by ENERGY STAR.3. Measure the space the new appliance will occupy. In the case of washers, refrigerators, and freezers, also consider the appliance’s capacity. The bigger it is, the more energy it will use, but the smaller it is, the less convenient it will be for holding contents. Cost Estimator:Appliances that are ENERGY STAR-cered range from $100 to $9,000. ENERGY STAR AppliancesWhat is it? The EPA established ENERGY STAR to promote the use of energy-ecient products and methods. Appliances form a major component of this program and include air puriers, clothes washers, dehumidiers, dishwashers, freezers, and refrigerators. Rigorously tested, ENERGY STAR appliances are guaranteed to save money and resources while performing as well or better than conventional devices. Diculty:Cost:Maintenance:Home Value: Savings:Project Rating BoxQuick Tips: ✓ The higher the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) of an air purier, the more quickly it lters the air. ✓ There are no ENERGY STAR-certied dryers, but the most ecient models come equipped with a moisture sensor, which turns the dryer o when the clothes are dry. ✓ A washing machine with a high Modied Energy Factor (MEF) and a low Water Factor (WF) is the most ecient. ✓ You may not have to buy a dehumidier if you improve the drainage around the foundation of your home, keep clothes dryers vented or hang clothes outside, repair leaky outdoor faucets, and install an A/C vent. ✓ Find a dishwater model with several wash cycle options for better eciency. ✓ You don’t need to buy a refrigerator with an ice-maker and dispenser, as such models are more expensive and use more energy. Also look into getting a top-mount Why do it? Pros: ✓ In general, energy-ecient water heaters use less energy than standard water heaters.✓ For homes that use 41 gallons or less of hot water daily, demand water heaters can be 24–34 percent more energy-ecient than conventional storage tank water heaters. They can be 8–14 percent more energy-ecient for homes that use a lot of hot water, saving around 86 gallons per day.✓ Most tankless water heaters have a life expectancy of more than 20 years. In contrast, storage water heaters last 10–15 years.✓ Heat pump water heaters typically use 50 percent less electricity to heat water than conventional electric water heaters.Cons:✓ Energy-ecient water heaters have a higher initial cost than standard water heaters.✓ Solar water heating systems usually require a backup system for cloudy days and times of increased demand.✓ A tankless water heater’s output limits the ow rate.✓ Heat pump water heaters must be installed in locations that remain at 40–90°F year-round and provide at least 1,000 cubic feet of air space around the water heater.Maintenance: Read the owner’s manual for specic maintenance recommendations, but maintenance will typically include:✓ Flushing a quart of water from the storage tank every 3 months to remove sediment that impedes heat transfer and lowers the eciency of a heater✓ Checking the temperature and pressure valve every 6 months✓ Inspecting the anode rod every 3-4 yearsRegular maintenance on simple solar water-heating systems can be as infrequent as every 3–5 years, preferably done by a solar contractor. Systems with electrical components usually require a replacement part or two after 10 years.Timeline: Most energy-ecient water heaters can be installed within a few hours. The total time depends on the size and type of system to be installed.Steps: 1. Before buying a new storage water heater, consider the size and rst hour rating, fuel type and availability, and energy eciency and costs.2. It’s best to have a qualied plumbing and heating contractor install a storage water heater. When selecting a contractor:• Request cost estimates in writing• Ask for references• Check the company with the local Better Business Bureau• See if the company will obtain a local permit if necessary and understands local building codes, etc.3. If you would like to install the heater yourself, you need to consult the manufacturer, who will usually have the necessary installation and instruction manuals. Also, contact the city or town for information about obtaining a permit, if necessary, and about local water heater building codes.Cost Estimator:Costs range from several hundred dollars for an ecient storage tank heater to several thousand for a solar water heater system. Water HeaterWhat is it? Water heating is the second-largest energy expense in the home, accounting for about 18% of utility bills. There are four ways to cut water heating bills: use less hot water; turn down the thermostat on the water heater; insulate the water heater; or buy a new, more ecient model. According to ENERGY STAR, high-eciency water heaters use 10–50% less energy than standard models. There are dierent types of high-eciency water heaters available, including conventional storage tank, tankless, heat pump, indirect, and Diculty:Cost:Maintenance:Home Value: Savings:Project Rating BoxQuick Tips: ✓ Fix leaks, install low-ow xtures, and purchase a dishwasher and clothes washer that are energy-ecient. ✓ Greywater or heat recovery systems capture energy from already used water (i.e. from showering, washing dishes, or washing clothes) to preheat cold water entering the water heater or going to other water xtures. This reduces the amount of energy needed for water heating. ✓ Set the thermostat on the water heater to 120°F to get comfortable hot water for most uses. ✓ Insulate the electric hot water storage tank, but be careful not to cover the thermostat. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. ✓ Insulate the natural gas or oil hot water storage tank, but be careful not to cover the water heater’s top, bottom, thermostat, or burner compartment. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations; when in doubt, get professional help. ✓ Insulate the rst 6 feet of the hot and cold water pipes Why do it? Pros: ✓ Water will taste better✓ Appliances will last longer✓ Energy usage for heating water is reduced as scale in pipes is reduced✓ Smaller amounts of soap and detergents are necessary for cleaning processesCons:✓ May actually cause more overall water use✓ Sodium can be corrosive ✓ Dietary sodium intake increases from additional sodium in the waterMaintenance: Check the salt levels oen. A monthly check is usually all that is necessary for most soeners. If the water soener is new, check it every couple of weeks. If the brine tank is less than 1/3 full of salt, rell it to the ll line. It is ne to rell it before this point, but the main thing is to not let the salt levels get critically low.Consider the humidity. If the area has high humidity, it is better to keep low salt levels in the tank and to rell it oen. is is because humidity will sometimes cause a salt bridge, an empty area between the water and salt, to form. Should this occur, use a broom handle to break up the salt so it falls into the water.Inspect the brine tank every 3-4 months (if using rock salt, you’ll need to check it more frequently). To check the tank, let the salt level in the tank decrease until it is 1/3 full. Inspect the walls of the tank for a build-up of salt residue. If there is a heavy residue, turn the water soener o and remove the remaining salt. Clean the inside of the tank thoroughly with soap and water. Rinse well, replace the salt, rell the salt tank to the top, and then turn the water soener back on.If the water supply is iron-rich, inspect the resin bed each month to see if iron deposits have built up. If there are a lot of deposits, use an iron remover on the resin bed. Timeline: Most water softeners can be installed within a few hours. The total time depends on the size and type of system to be installed.Steps: 1. Determine if the water is hard enough to warrant a water softener. General guidelines from the USGS for classication of waters are: 0 to 60 mg/L (milligrams per liter) as calcium carbonate is classied as soft; 61 to 120 mg/L as moderately hard; 121 to 180 mg/L as hard; and more than 180 mg/L as very hard.2. If the water is the area is considered hard, consider purchasing and installing a water softener system, or contacting a local contractor to install one. Some stores include installation with the purchase of a water softener.3. Decide which type of salt to use in the water softener. There are generally three options available: rock, solar, and evaporated salt. Rock salt is generally the least expensive, and has the highest amount of non-soluble minerals, so the softener needs to be cleaned more often. Solar salt is the most common variety, and usually comes in pellet form. Evaporated salt is the highest quality salt available for a water softener, and is also the most expensive.Water SoftenerWhat is it? Water is considered “hard” if it contains a lot of calcium, magnesium or other minerals. Groundwater acquires these metals by dissolving them from surrounding soil and rock. Dissolved calcium and magnesium precipitate out of hard water as scale, a coating or incrustation formed by the precipitation of minerals from the water, which builds up on the insides of pipes, water heaters, clothes, and dishwashers and other appliances. The scale build-up reduces ow through pipes and, eventually, the pipes can become completely clogged. Conventional water softeners replace the magnesium and calcium ions with sodium ions, which eliminate the scale buildup because sodium doesn’t precipitate out in Diculty:Cost:Maintenance:Home Value: Savings:Project Rating BoxQuick Tips: The benecial claims for inexpensive magnetic or anti-scale water softeners are unfounded. Magnetic treatments may seem inexpensive and chemical-free, but there is little rm evidence of their eectiveness in domestic situations. The treatment only claims to alter the eective hardness of water; no solutes (such as calcium or magnesium) are actually removed from the water.Cost Estimator:Water soeners can run between $400 and $2,700. If you have reasonable electrical and plumbing abilies, you can install the soener yourself. If not, you’ll need to hire a plumber, which could add $100-$600 to the inial cost of the unit. Again, some stores include installaon with the purchase of a water soener.. Why do it? Environmental Qualities✓ A managed computer uses less energy (especially important if energy comes from a non-green source) and thus produces less carbonPros: ✓ Lower power bill✓ Prolongs life of computerScreensavers What is it? As part of ENERGY STAR’s “Low Carbon IT Campaign,” businesses and individuals are encouraged to use green IT practices. These practices not only conserve energy; they save money! And yet, they’re so simple that they’re usually overlooked when people decide to convert to a more energy-ecient lifestyle. For instance, a 2009 article for ComputerWorld inspired GlaxoSmithKline business analyst Matt Bartow to do what few companies were doing at the time: implement a wide-scale computer power management (CPM) program.While such extensive programs face obstacles and produce indeterminate results, homeowners can do their part on a smaller scale with better results. The main purpose of a CPM is to reduce electricity, and when many homeowners rely on non-green power sources, this becomes a top priority. CPM can involve simply setting up a screensaver and allowing the computer to “sleep” after a predetermined period of inactivity. According to the EPA, you can save between $10 and $50 per computer each year. To corroborate this, a 2011-2012 study by the Administrative Information Technology Services (AITS) at the University of Illinois reported that their managed computers each saved a little over $1.00 per month (approx. $15 per year).Cons:✓ Can reduce user productivity (constantly turning on a “sleeping” computer)✓ Unable to determine nancial savings✓ Computer can’t update itself or perform other tasks while “sleeping”✓ In theory, more practical for businesses, but in practice, more obstacles accompany that practicality Maintenance: For private individuals, there is little maintenance. For IT-based companies, an IT manager must supervise the CPM and delegate tasks. Timeline: Only a few minutes to congure a screensaver or low-power program.Steps: 1. Look for any available data on the energy usage of your computer model. If you can’t nd any, you might be able to Diculty:Cost:Maintenance:Home Value: Savings:Project Rating BoxQuick Tips: ✓ If you have an extremely inecient computer to begin with, you might save more money in the long run by replacing it or some of its parts. ✓ Don’t have the computer go into sleep mode after a short period of time (5-10 minutes), as that will decrease your productivity. (You don’t want to come back from a coee break to nd your PC asleep!) Have it turn o after 20 minutes to an hour. Some newer computers may naturally do this. ✓ Install as many updates as possible during mealtimes or breaks. 1. have a professional test your computer. 2. Your computer may have built-in features for conserving energy. Find these and, if necessary, read about them in the manual or help guide. Also, see if your computer can install updates in a low-power mode. 3. Pick your desired screensaver and set up your computer to go to sleep after a reasonable number of minutes. Cost Estimator:Usually no cost, unless user needs to replace computer or components with more energy-ecient models. ENERGY STAR AppliancesWater SoftenersWater HeatersScreen SaversREFERENCESENERGY STAR Appliances Save the Screens! - Screensavers and Other CPM Practices