“Going green” offers the chance to save money and do something good for the planet, an often irresistible combination when it comes to remodeling the house. Beyond the Energy Star rating that signifies lower energy use compared to conventional models, what really makes an appliance greener? And how can you choose among models? Let’s look at some of the top appliance types for the home and what makes some models greener than others.
These are the second-largest energy hog in the home, so replacing an outdated fridge with a green model will really lower your bills. Expect to save anywhere from 10 to 50 percent when switching to an Energy Star rated green refrigerator. To save even more, estimate what size refrigerator you really need, then stick with something in that size range.
Modern dishwashers rely on a sensor to fill the machine with the right volume of water for the amount of dishes being cleaned, saving water and saving you money. Replace an older model with one of these green dishwashers to utilize savings. While it’s still best practice to run the dishwasher only when it is full, now you can feel less guilty if you need to wash items sooner.
Investing in something like a new LG washing machine will save you money and clean your clothes every time. Look for a front-loading model to save; these use approximately one-third less water, energy and heat than traditional models. Realize even more savings by following traditional laundry tips: Wash only when you have a full load, reduce the water temperature to the minimum level necessary (i.e. cold or warm, not hot) and pretreat clothing to remove stains.
While you can air dry laundry to save money and help green the environment, it’s not always practical to air dry everything. For those times when you need a dryer, invest in an Energy Star rated model that offers multiple settings to accommodate energy efficiency and run the dryer only for the amount of time it takes to fully dry your laundry.
Microwaves are a naturally green option because they take less time — and use less power — to heat food than a traditional oven or a toaster oven. As with other appliances, these come with an Energy Star rating too. But you’ll also save more if you look for a combination convection/microwave oven. This uses convection currents to heat food, combining a microwave and a traditional oven in one. This may take some getting used to, but it’s a dream appliance for small spaces and it’s also environmentally friendly. Use microwave-safe food grade containers to heat up your food safely, without the risk of chemicals leaching into the food.
If you decide to invest in one of these green appliances, check with the manufacturer to see whether they offer buyback or trade-in programs. You may be able to have the new appliance delivered and the old one removed and responsibly recycled, all for a low fee.
The cost of upgrading your appliance is offset by monthly savings. Lower your home expenses now by switching from outdated appliances to green models.