When I first used to think of conserving CO2, I started to think about lighting and low mpg vehicles. My household appliance use remained off the radar until we started discussing LEED vs. Energy Star in our Habitat Development meetings. The argument between LEED and Energy Star not withstanding, the point is, appliances with a better efficiency rating will save you money when you’re using them.
Appliances with an Energy Star approval are supposedly best in class and will provide the least cost to operate as they use less energy. This doesn’t make them cheap, only built with more efficient motors, better seals, more insulation, and the like.
New appliances are typically more efficient than old ones. Consider this example[i] of a 1981 two-door refrigerator verses a 2004 top mounted refrigerator with freezer applying current Michigan State energy costs[ii]:
Chances are you don’t have a 1981 refrigerator in your house. But let’s consider what appliances you do have. I started such a list considering the kWh and usage in my household. See the list here:
Note that I haven’t confirmed all my actual appliance wattage – for those yet unconfirmed, I used reported average values.[iii] Initially I was surprised that I had so many gadgets in my household as I thought I lived rather simply.
After defining my appliance usage, I evaluated alternatives such as replacing them, using them less or not at all. Recalculated, I found I could save 1,715 kWh, $189, and avoid 1.8 tons CO2[iv] however you look at it. For me, seeing the 2 Bucks come up relatively easy, I am motivated to make these changes. I’d be curious to learn what you find doing a similar evaluation of your household. Note that I estimate an 11.3% overage in kWh usage relative to actual kWh usage recorded by my energy company via my annual statements and considering usage due to lighting. Savings calculated however are one to one.
The next step will be to understand my outdoor-appliance usage costs and CO2 emissions for my snow-blower, leaf blower, and lawn mower.
Saving money is a huge benefit for understanding and reducing your home appliance usage. Cleaner air and less energy creation around the globe are bonuses that benefit everyone.
I’ve included a link here to a video -fingers crossed it is still available for you to watch, courtesy of alpha website, www.wattzon.com. This is a community contributing to a collection of data to more accurately describe your personal carbon footprint. Take it for a spin –and perhaps an easier way to collect and evaluate your appliance usage.
[i] Natural Resources Canada via their website, January 5th, 2009: www.oee.nrcan.gc.ca/publications/infosource/pub/energy-efficient-appliances/
[ii] 2008 Michigan Rate Increase Facts published via webpage, November 13th, 2008: www.energyanalysis.we-energies.com/BillGenWebClient/Help/2009_MI_Electric_Rate_Increase.htm
[iii] Appliance kWh usage spreadsheet by Flathead Electric, Montana USA via their website, January 5th, 2009: www.flatheadelectric.com/energy/appliancewattage.htm confirmed with Cornhusker Public Power District, Columbus, Nebraska January 5th, 2009 via their website: www.cornhusker-power.com/householdappliances.asp
[iv] “Carbon Dioxide Emissions from the Generation of Electric Power in the United States”, July 2000, EIA; http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/page/co2_report/co2report.html. Value based on 1kWh = 2.1 lbs CO2 as energy creation in Michigan is coal based.