Home Energy Efficiency

It’s a no brainer nowadays for consumers to look for the Energy Star label when purchasing home appliances — consumers have become not only more financially savvy, but more aware of their impact on the Earth. But, are Energy Star and other labels all that energy efficient?

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) when looking to replace that old fridge or other appliance look for an energy efficient appliance because it will save you money in the long run. The FTC encourages consumers who are in the market for new appliances, to look through the yellow and black EnergyGuide it displays near the appliance in the showroom.

But, in an October 18, 2009 New York Times article, the Energy Department released the findings of an internal audit that reports that the Department “does not properly track whether manufacturers that give the Energy Star label have met the required specifications for energy efficiency.”

So, some manufacturers could be falsely putting labels on products, according to the audit.

Since the New York Times report, the Department of Energy (DOE) and Environmental Protection Agency have partnered to tighten the Energy Star program, with the EPA taking the lead on this program. Future enhancements to the Energy Star program are highlighted in the following article: http://www.customhomeonline.com/industry-news.asp?sectionID=204&articleid=1111562.

O.K., so you have upgraded all of your appliances, but what else can you do to make your home more energy efficient? Well, some steps include:

  • Insulate windows, seal doors
  • Insulate water heater
  • Replace furnace filters
  • Vacuum refrigerator coils
  • Use heat generating appliances such as washers and dryers and dishwashers in the morning or the evening — reduces the load on the air conditioner in the summer and warms the house in the winter
  • Wash only full loads of clothing when possible, cleaning the filter after every wash and dry
  • Install ceiling fans — actually saves energy in the summer and the winter