Buy energy efficient appliances
You’ve decided to invest in your home - and the environment - by swapping out your old appliances for eco-friendly ones. Kudos to you! Changing to energy efficient isn’t just good for the earth, it’s also great for your wallet. But with all the appliances and cleaning products touting their eco-friendly reputation these days, how do you know which ones are legit? Check out our tips on what to look for when purchasing eco-friendly appliances and products.
What to look for
The Energy Star seal: When buying eco-friendly appliances, look for the EnergyGuide label. Energy Star is a joint program of the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with the goal of protecting the environment and saving money with the help of energy efficient products and practices.
When you're shopping for household appliances - and in view of the fact that we have yet to establish our own energy rating program - you can use the Energy Star rating to discover the product's estimated energy consumption, how it compares to similar models, and estimated annual operating costs. Also, to check that the product has earned the Energy Star. This means it meets strict energy efficiency guidelines.
Start with the fridge: If you're planning to replace one appliance at a time, nix your refrigerator first. Since it's on 24 hours a day, it soaks up the most energy of all your appliances. Keep in mind that top freezer models use less energy than side-by-side refrigeration. Also, save energy by buying a fridge without an ice maker and front dispenser.
Washer and dryer: First, think about size. A large model will hold more clothes, but use more energy. Determine the best size for your family based on the size of your loads. Also, choose a model with a high Modified Energy Factor (MEF) and a low Water Factor (WF). Though Energy Star doesn't label dryers, a good rule of thumb is to choose a model with a moisture sensor. This feature automatically shuts off the machine when clothes are dry.
Dishwasher: If your dishwasher was installed prior to 1994, you're wasting water. Replace your old dishwasher with an Energy Star qualified model to save energy and cash.
Look for high efficiency compatible laundry products: Once you've selected a high efficiency washer, it's important to make the switch to a high efficiency laundry detergent. Most brands offer high efficiency products built especially for front loading machines.
Natural fabric softener: Try mixing half borax with half baking soda during your normal laundry cycle. This can help to give your clothes a fresh scent, especially if the cause is hard water. Half a cup of borax mixed with half a cup of baking soda should be added with your normal detergent. Add about eight drops of lavender or lemon oil to give a more bold scent. See our article on fresh smelling laundry for more information on home made alternatives.
Choose highly concentrated dishwashing liquid: When your dishwashing liquid has a higher concentration, a little goes a long way. Automatic dishwasher detergent packs are another green option. Not only are they biodegradable, but they're also chlorine and phosphate free.