As the summer energy crunch nears, Flex Your Power is launching an aggressive energy efficiency and conservation campaign to encourage families and businesses to think about the real cost of appliances.
“We are working with the ethnic press to ensure that all Californians take home the financial savings of energy efficiency,” said Walter McGuire, president of the state-funded energy efficiency campaign Flex You Power. “The average household can cut its current energy bill significantly by switching to appliances with the Energy Star label, which use less energy than standard appliances.”
Every appliance that uses electricity has two costs: the price tag at purchase and the energy consumption reflected on your electricity bill. Energy-efficient products may cost more than inefficient models, but they quickly pay back the price difference and then some through much lower monthly bills. This adds up to hundreds of dollars in savings every year.
Refrigerators offer the greatest opportunity for energy savings since they use more electricity than any other household appliance, about 18 percent of all electricity in a home. Replacing a 10-year-old refrigerator with a new Energy Star model reduces bills by approximately $30 each year. Also, unplugging and recycling an old second refrigerator or freezer will reduce your energy bills. Visit Flex Your Power’s website or check with your utility company to see if you are eligible for cash rewards for recycling old refrigerators and freezers.
Save even more by taking advantage of rebate programs. For instance, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) offers a rebate of up to $75 on Energy Star clothes washers. Energy Star clothes washers use 40% less water and 50% less energy than older models, saving you up to $875 in energy and water bills over the life of the machine.
Here are some purchasing tips when replacing your old energy and money draining appliances: 1) check the yellow EnergyGuide label to compare how much energy it takes to operate and estimate the difference in annual operating cost between comparable models; 2) look for Energy Star qualified models; 3) choose a size that meets your household needs.
But it is not just what you use, it is how you use it. The most efficient refrigerator can still waste energy if the door is left open. Clothes washers are wasteful if they are operated at full capacity with small loads. Likewise, dishwashers without full loads mean you are wasting energy and water. Filling up maximizes each use of your appliance.
Lastly, if you hear the Flex Your Power NOW! alert, your area is using too much energy. Hold off using major appliances like clothes washers until after 7 p.m. to reduce the strain on peak energy supplies and transmission.
To learn more about how you can save money and energy at work and at home, visit the Flex Your Power website at www.FYPower.org. With more than 1,000 incentive and technical assistance programs, Californians can find all kinds of opportunities to save money and energy.