Home appliances are a major investment, so it’s important to do your homework before buying.
If you’re like most people, you’re looking for certain features – a front loading machine, or a fridge door that opens left or right for example. While these are all important, the appliance’s energy efficiency may actually be the most critical of your selection criteria, as it has the potential to lower your monthly utility bills. Not only does buying an efficient appliance make sense financially, it is also good for the environment.
Fortunately, there are certifications and a labeling system to make it easy for you to buy energy efficient appliances. Here’s what you need to know:
Energy Star Certification
ENERGY STAR® is the mark of high-efficiency products in Canada. All ENERGY STAR certified appliances have been tested and certified by a government approved agency. Typically, an ENERGY STAR certified product is in the top 15 to 30 percent of its class for energy performance and can use 20 – 30 percent less energy than other appliances on the market.
The EnerGuide label tells you know how much energy a product uses and how that compares to similar models.
Four main items are displayed on the label
- Annual energy consumption of the model in kilowatt hours (kWh)
- An energy consumption indicator, which positions the model compared with the most efficient and least efficient models in the same class
- The type and capacity of models that make up this class
- The appliance’s model number
If the product is an Energy Star qualified model, that is displayed on the Energuide label too.
When you know the cost of energy – in Alberta for example the average kWh costs between 7 and 12 cents — you can use the information on the label to calculate the annual operating cost of the appliance.