Challengicious Monday: Upgrade to Energy Star

>> Monday, May 10, 2010

Mondays are challengicious at The Conscious Shopper. Here's your next energy-related challenge:

Upgrade to Energy Star

We're at the winding down phase of the Energize challenges, and these last two are Marathon Runner only. If you're in the market for a new appliance, HVAC system, or household electronic, consider looking for the Energy Star rating, "a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices." Although Energy Star products tend to be a little more expensive than their conventional counterparts, they should earn their keep through savings on your energy bill. And you can get federal tax credits for many Energy Star products!

If you're not planning on upgrading already, I personally think it's better to hold on to your appliances and repair them until they bite the dust, but I've seen other sources that disagree. Either way, you should definitely not go into debt just to complete a Conscious Shopper Challenge. So when you're ready...

Will you take the challenge?

You have hereby been challenged to go green in a year without going broke! Check out the last challenge, or view the whole list of Challengicious Mondays. Sign up for my RSS feed, follow me on Twitter, and join my "Go Green without Going Broke" group on Facebook!


Condo Blues May 10, 2010 at 9:32 PM  

I wonder if Energy Star is really the way to go if you want to save energy? After the government accountability office study that showed that the Energy Star program was approving almost everything that came crossed their desk without researching it, I'm not so sure if an Energy Star rated appliance will really save you any more money than a comparable non Energy Star rated appliance. For example, I checked my refrigerator against it's Energy Star rated equivalent and I would only save a dollar in electricity a year. True it uses less electricity than my current refrigerator but I bet I could make up the difference by using my current refrigerator more wisely. I'm conflicted.

I know Energy Star is the only rating program we have right now for electronics. But it bugs me that the only way to qualify for a government rebate is to get an appliance from an organization that's shown it's lax in it's testing and approval. What do you think?

Erin aka Conscious Shopper May 10, 2010 at 10:12 PM  

I thought about that as I was writing this post, but I'm not sure what a good answer is. Since Energy Star is really the only standard we have, it's hard to dismiss it completely. At the same time, I was just looking at appliances on Sears, and all of the side-by-side fridges are Energy Star rated while only one of the top freezer fridges is, but a top freezer fridge will get better energy efficiency than a side-by-side freezer because they're smaller and designed more efficiently. So just because a product is rated Energy Star doesn't necessarily mean it's better. People still need to be smart shoppers.

Marie,  May 11, 2010 at 12:39 PM  

I took advantage of last month's NC appliance rebate program and bought the top freezer Energy Star Sears refrigerator, #2 recommended by Consumer Reports (May 2010). The old one is 22yo. It is still working, but had a crack in the interior running across the back. Sealing the crack may have been an option, but considering the age I didn't want to risk losing any of this summer's harvest. I've never known a fridge to break down in the winter or when nearly empty!

Also, Progress Energy's Appliance Recycling program offers free removal and a $50 reward.

With these incentives, I decided now was the time. Apparently others did, too. The earliest delivery date is May 17, nearly 4 weeks from purchase date.

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