Assignment 3: Appliances and Energy

The topic of this blog post will be about how to save electricity and money by buying newer appliances. And while that might seem like a rather consumerist statement, appliances are a major drain of electricity. The older they are, the less efficient they are. I want to compare new eco-friendly efficient models of appliances with their older counterparts. I think a lot of people have heard the common ways to reduce your electricity needs by shutting off the lights when you are done with them or not cranking the a/c, but sometimes the only way to see true savings in both electricity and resource usage is to buy newer models. I think the audience of this blog is people who are buying homes and looking to renovate. Also, this is good for businesses because they have capital available to make investments that might now pay off completely for a few years.

I will be talking about old appliances and new Energy Star appliances. Energy Star is not a brand, rather a program run by the EPA that identifies brands that are efficient and reduce pollution. So an Energy Star dishwasher or water heater is one that is so efficient, it actually is better than the governmental industry regulations.

In order to run my calculations, I need to gather some information. I need to know the energy usage of a basic water heater, the efficiency improvement for the new energy star version, the average electricity bill cost, and the percentage of the bill that goes towards appliances. According to the Water Heater Index data, the average energy use of an average water heater is is 495 Kwh per month, so 5,940 kWh annually. Energy Star  found that their models reduce their energy usage by 8%.  The EPA found that the average electric bill is $2,060 with 13% going towards appliances.

The Math

average water heater energy * .92 = energy used by E.S. water heater

Also, the bill will be reduced because of the reduction in energy usage

2,060 * 13% = average cost of water heater annually

average annual cost * .92= NEW annual cost with energy efficient water heater

old cost – new cost = savings

(I would also like to run this sequence of equations with information about refrigerators, but the principle is the same)

Updating one appliance will not solve all of your energy usage issues, but it is the first step in saving energy and money. Water heaters are a good place to start, but the kitchen is a major center for appliance usage as well as the bathroom. Ideally, the entire house will be renovated with new appliances every 10 years in order to keep improving efficiency. According to The Natural Resources Defense Council, which is an organization that is dedicated to reducing unnecessary resource usage, if you replace a washing machine made before 1994 with an energy star model is can save a family $110 per year. Saving electricity is a good way to save money and to save the environment. Before buying appliances, buyers should research Energy Star products and their rate of consumption because part of being a good environmentalist is being an educated shopper.

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