The True Difference of Energy-Efficient Appliances


Modern kitchenIn both business and home design, energy efficiency has become a factor. Green living is a multi-billion dollar industry that affects architecture, marketing, politics and culture — and like most cultural phenomena, it can be difficult to distinguish the facts from the hype. To truly live a green lifestyle, we need to know how energy efficient our appliances are. How ratings hold weight or if the scale is just a good sales strategy.

Measuring Efficiency

If you really want to understand the energy impact within your home, ask a scientist. After all, energy efficiency is a scientific term that was central to scientists like Newton and Faraday as well as inventors like Edison and Tesla. As Edison would have told you, heat energy and electrical energy are not the same, but they are related. This is why his earliest light bulbs did not work. The American Society for Testing and Materials uses either the Joule or BTU as its unit of heat measurement, while electrical work is measured in watts and a “kilowatt-hour” indicates the electrical energy consumption.

The EPA provides a basic formula for saving based on energy efficiency. The savings equal the baseline energy use minus the post-installation energy use. Take this number and add or subtract any adjustments. Thermal insulation is typically easy to calculate using this method. As an example, if you live in a New England state, replacing single-pane windows with ENERGY STAR-certified windows you’ll cut about 23.5 million BTUs from escaping your home. At $14.50 per million BTUs, you’ll save around $340 annually.

Appliance Efficiency

The same formula goes for appliances, but using the kilowatt-hour (kWh) usage. The kWh is defined as the power consumption of 1,000 watts for one hour; leaving a 1,000-watts bulb on for one hour is equal to one kWh. In California, one kWh costs a little more than 15 cents. Replacing a 60-watt bulb you only use one hour per week would save you around 39 cents per year. Changing ten bulbs that you use 10 hours per week would save around $40. Calculate your own savings here.

Mixed Efficiencies

Thermal transfer and lighting have linear efficiency analyses, as you are still comparing BTUs to BTUs and kWh to kWh; you are measuring apples to apples, but refrigerators and air conditioning units require measuring apples to oranges. An A/C unit uses electrical energy to transfer heat out of a home, so we need to analyze the kWh compared to the BTU change. Because A/C units pump heat, the outdoor temperature becomes part of the calculation. In a place hot place like Arizona, an ENERGY STAR unit can move 36,000 BTU in one hour at a cost of 11 cents per kWh. After the cost of the new unit, upgrading to an energy efficient unit would save you around $1,200 per year.

The Adjustment

The EPA’s savings formula includes an area for adjustments. Bonus: there are both state and federal tax and incentive programs that add to the savings. At the federal level, certain energy efficient upgrades can earn you up to 30 percent.

Make sure you are living green and your home is as energy efficient as possible. Make sure you are doing your part to ensure a healthy future for our children and the environment!





About the author

Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog! I believe in living green, organically, and natural in every aspect of our lives. My mission is to help educate you on how to live green, help save our environment and to help you and your family live a happier, healthier life!

22 thoughts on “The True Difference of Energy-Efficient Appliances!”

  1. Great article! Every state has its own best brand of window replacement like in Colorado it is Amerimax, specifically built for the harsh weather condition.

    1. Hi,
      It always good to find the most energy efficient windows as possible and to have your house insulated properly. thank you for stopping by and commenting.

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  5. Average household produces tonnes of green house gases annually. However, if anyone have energy smart house it cuts down one-third part of the total emission produced. By using the energy saving appliances the life of appliances can be extended.

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  7. Simple Changes Healthy Results

    You never really think that one lightbulb can make a difference, but it certainly adds up. The big appliances are so critical. We always had an old refrig in our garage or patio that was very inefficient and an electricity hog. When it finally died, we noticed a big difference in our electricity bill. Sadly, being green doesn’t matter to most people unless it affects their own pocketbook.

    1. Thanks for reading my article and commenting. I have to agree with you that people don’t think green unless it affects money but fortunately more and more appliances and other items are being made energy efficient. Have a healthy happy day!

  8. flipflopbarnyard

    Thanks for sharing at the Homestead Blog Hop! Hope to see you again this week! 🙂

  9. Hi Marla,
    This is such a helpful and fascinating post. It really helped to clarify some questions many of us may have had about energy efficient appliances. Thank you for sharing “The True Difference of Energy-Efficient Appliances!” with us at the Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Party Blog Hop! I’m pinning and sharing!

    1. Hi Deborah,
      Thanks so much. I hope it will help you and other people make the right decisions on appliances – I know I get confused with all the data myself and decided this would be a good article to share. Have a healthy happy week! Marla

  10. 'Becca @ The Earthling's Handbook

    This is important information! I noticed though that you mentioned “replacing” light bulbs without saying what to replace them with. After clicking the link, I see that you mean replacing incandescent bulbs with CFL bulbs. This is worth a more detailed explanation, because I’ve talked with some people who think that wattage is a measure of light so they’ll need more CFL bulbs to get the same amount of light! I think the packaging of most brands of CFLs is very clear about this (“60 Watt equivalent” etc.) but some people are so reluctant to make any change in what they buy and use that they haven’t gotten as far as reading the package. By the way, here is a good response to the claim that CFLs are dangerous:

    1. Hi Becca,
      Thanks for providing the link for the information on CFL bulbs. I know there is a lot of controversy about the mercury in them and I have read quite a lot of different opinions. I was providing information to help with energy efficiency and links to help people make educated decisions. I think there is no doubt that mercury is not safe substance, but I have also read that evidently that is going to be the only bulb available – I do not know if that will happen or not. We all have to make changes in the best way we know how and do our research. Thanks for reading and commenting on my article. Always glad for people opinions and information that help educate all of us. Marla

  11. Great and informative post! There is so much we can do to reduce the energy usage. Some things take almost no effort or investments either. And if we have to invest money it comes back over time due to reduced costs. Energy-efficiency is one of those topics where environmentalists and economists use to reach an agreement…

    1. Hi Charlotte,
      Thanks and you are correct there are many ways we can help reduce energy usage that are easy to do. Buying energy efficient products is just one to them. Thanks for reading my article and commenting. Have a healthy happy weekend! Marla

  12. This is a well written and informative article, but it does not go nearly far enough.

    Energy efficient appliances are preferable to non-energy efficient appliances, but what we need to be doing is to try and see which appliances we can do without, which appliances can we use less often.

    We need to understand that every time we switch on our cooker or our washing-machine, or any of our gadgets, that a little more of the planet dies and is polluted. Do you really need to wash that shirt that is already white? Perhaps just hanging it on the line for half an hour would freshen it up instead? Do you really need to switch on that blender? Perhaps a hand whisk or a pestle and mortar could do the same job? Do you really need to vacuum the floor everyday, when in actual fact no-one has even walked on it? Maybe we could have one day a week where we use a brush instead? We need to be asking ourselves these questions, and many more like them. If we persist in using a dozen appliances every day, no matter how efficient they may be we are not going to save this planet.

    There are 1000 ways we can use our appliances less, and that is what we would like to see some articles about.

    1. My article was to pinpoint the need for energy efficient appliances, how to rate them to make sure they are energy efficient and to encourage people to do so. The 1000 ways to use appliance less is a whole separate article. I agree with you ideas – they are very good and should be implemented. Thank your for reading my article and commenting. Have a healthy day.

  13. smallftprints

    This is great information! We are building a new house and energy-efficiency is foremost in our minds. While the tax incentives are great, we’re finding that new construction doesn’t benefit from them as much as upgrading a home does. Even so, our savings will be realized in the day-to-day operation … and in the benefits to the earth. Thanks so much … as always, excellent information!

    1. Thanks! I’m glad that you found it informative. Good luck in building your new home and hope you find it to me the home of your dreams. Live healthy, green, and natural. Marla

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