The official Energy Star website, energystar.gov, provides a rather comprehensive guide to selecting the best type of consumer electronics, heating and cooling systems, office equipment, lighting fixtures, and plenty more. Today’s post, however, only focuses on the top rated, most efficient Energy Star appliances.
First time homeowner or tenant? Then you know it’s a jungle out there, when it comes to figuring out which appliances you should buy. Some are over-hyped, others are all about the design, but without too much performance to talk of. And then there are Energy Star’s most efficient brands, makes, and models.
Image source: Energy Star
From fridges to freezers, dishwashers to clothes dryers, here’s what the Energy Star experts think you should look for, when equipping your home:
Energy Star Appliances List
First things first: money. It’s not set in stone—but the rule of thumb is that the more energy efficient appliances come with the steeper price tags. It makes sense, after all. Researching and developing devices that work just as well as their predecessors, but on less energy, is often a costly endeavor.
Yet, before you let pricing matters dissuade you from adopting the environmentally friendly lifestyle, remember that, in fact, all appliances come with two costs. On the one hand, there’s the upfront retail price, and, on the other, there are the operating costs.
With Energy Star-labeled appliances, you get a guarantee for lower operating costs, tied in with a spectacular performance. To boot, if you still think the prices on these appliances are too steep, you can always do some research for Energy Star appliance rebates, tax credits, and other financial incentives.
Before we delve into the list itself, it’s worth taking a look at some of the appliances that have made Energy Star’s coveted Most Efficient list for 2016.
The Energy Star Most Efficient appliances of the year
Check out our highlighted products below, or take a detailed, in-depth look, over at energystar.gov. You can also download a free Excel version of the best appliances in 2016 in terms of energy efficiency right here.
Image source: LG
The category covered is that of large appliances (2.5 cubic feet and over). The year’s best includes several washers from LG, Samsung, and Kenmore.
Perhaps the most efficient appliance of the year in the over 5 cu. ft. category is the Samsung WF56H91**C, with a capacity of 5.6 cu. ft., 130kWh/yr in annual energy use and 4,593 gallons/yr in water use. For washers with a capacity of 4.5 cu. ft., both Kenmore and LG produce two series of products (the Kenmore 4158#### and LG WM270H*A, respectively), which only consume 100 kWh/yr and 3,841 gallons of water/yr.
Products in this category come in the Medium, Large, and Extra Large sizes. One worthy contender is the Bosch B1CB80NVW/01, which comes with automatic defrost and a recommended retail price of $2,499. The Energy Star website recommends this fridge for small urban kitchens. For larger kitchens, you can try any of the two featured Liebherr models, which both come with steep price tags (over $5,000 and $6,000, respectively), but can hold over (and around) 18l, at an annual energy use of some 500kWh/yr.
If you’re looking for a good, standard dishwasher, Energy Star’s got you covered with a list of super-efficient power savers. For the current year, the list includes the Blomberg DWT 25500* and 5 models from the Viking Range LLC 300 Series. Both consume 214kWh/year and the latter is priced at $1,999.
Energy Star kitchen appliances
This is what a model kitchen, solely equipped with Energy Star-certified appliances, could look like.
Image source: OED2
If you’re interested in such a project—or at least in purchasing individual, energy-efficient kitchen appliances, read on.
Energy Star-approved dishwashers can achieve perfectly clean dishes, but with less water, power, and money wasted on your end. Not sure you should be replacing your old model with a newer, more energy efficient one? Check out these rather compelling reasons:
- You can save money. On average, a dishwasher made before 1994 will cost you $35/year on your utility bills. Energy Star dishwashers consume 10% less energy than specified by federal minimums.
- You can help save water. Similarly, these 20-year-old machines gobble up 10 gallons more water per cycle. With an Energy Star certified appliance, you can end up saving as much as 1,600 gallons per cycle.
Still not sold? Think about all the new technologies packed in these babies:
- Dirt sensors. Some modern dishwashers can actually detect how dirty your plates and mugs are. They then auto-select the best-suited washing cycle, in order to clean them well, but with the least amount of water and power used.
- Better water filters. These same new appliances can filter out dirt from the water in which the dishes are being washed, in order to minimize detergent and water waste.
- Better spraying jets. They’re better because they don’t consume as much energy to spray the dishes with water and detergent as older models.
- Better rack designs. Now, your dishes can be compactly stacked, as to avoid wasting precious rack space inside the washer.
The U.S. government advises consumers to opt for a standard model, not a compact. Compact dishwashers can only hold 6 serving pieces and 8 place settings.
Another recommendation is to ditch handwashing in favor of automatic dishwashing. It can free up 230 hours of your personal time and saves some $40/year, plus 5,000 gallons of water. Similarly, scraping food off plates, instead of rinsing them, can save 20 gallons of water per dishwasher load.
To help protect the environment, even more, try to only wash full loads, and opt for the no-heat drying mode.
Ever wondered how many refrigerators and freezers are in use right now in the U.S.? You might find that number staggering, as it sits at 170 million. Of them, over 60 million are more than a decade old. Each ear, they cost some $100 to operate. The total power bill they accrue each year stands at $4.7 billion.
What if you recycled your good ole fridge and got a new Energy Star certified appliance? You might save anywhere between $35 and $300 in energy bills throughout the time you used it. That’s because these newer, smarter fridges have been estimated to consume 9 to 10% less energy than required by the minimal standard of the Fed.
Fridges that come with a freezer on top are even more energy efficient: standard models consume less than 60W lightbulbs. And if you’re really vying for top energy savings, spring for a model that can hold 16 to 20 cu. ft.
What if everyone in the U.S. started buying Energy Star fridges? Then, household consumers could save up to a collective total of $400 million per year. What’s more, 8 billion pounds of greenhouse gases would no longer pollute the air—that’s the equivalent of 750,000 cars!
Image source: Energy Star
If, for some weird reason you’re oddly attached to your old freezer, you might need to be put up to speed with how much it’s affecting you. Here are a couple of statistics you might find interesting:
- Of all the 35 million freezers currently being used across the United States, almost half (16 million) were produced over a decade ago.
- Old freezers cost the American consumers $990 million in power bills each year.
- Energy Star-labeled freezers consume 10% less energy than the minimum recommendations of the Federal government.
If you’re thinking of buying a new freezer, here are some commonsensical recommendations from the U.S. government:
- The bigger the freezer is, the more power it will consume.
- Chest freezers are generally more energy efficient than upright ones, because the door on top doesn’t let as much cold air get out from it, when opened.
- On average, freezers that can be manually defrosted use less energy—but this only applies if you actually defrost them on the regular. Ice buildup that’s over .25in tall is damaging.
- Freezer temperature should always be 0F degrees.
- Don’t keep your freezer outside, because harsh winter temperatures can severely damage their compressors.
- Make sure there’s room for the freezer to ‘breathe’, or at least not to overheat, by leaving a few inches from the wall to the back of the freezer.
- The doors have to be properly sealed and kept closed as much as possible.
- When buying a new freezer, ask the retailer if they can handle the pickup and recycling of your old one (most retailers do).
Other Energy Star appliances
You may not be aware of this, but your washing machine is a major water and power consumer in your household. This is true throughout the U.S.: the average family does 300 loads of laundry per year. Energy Star-certified washing machines use 25% less power and 40% less water than typical models. You do the math.
What’s more, the 25 million top-loading clothes washers made before 2003, which are still in use in the U.S. cost $2.9 billion per year in water and electricity. If you own such a device, you might care to know you pay roughly $180 each year to use it.
Need more facts and figures? Here you go:
- Energy-Star certified clothes washers come with larger tubs, but both as front- and as top-load models. A lot of them actually have sensors, which can detect how hot the water is. And when the time comes to rinse clothes, they use high-pressure jets, not soaking.
- Energy-Star washers can save you up to $40/year in electricity bills and 10 gallons of water on each load (adding up to over 3,000 gallons per year).
- If all of the U.S. only bought Energy Star certified washers, consumers could save a total of $4 billion each year and reduce greenhouse emissions by over 19 billion pounds (which is roughly how much 1.8 million cars produce).
Image source: Green and Save
How do you feel about clothes dryers? According to the statistics, you probably own one—as do over 80% of Americans. If, from now on, U.S. consumers only bought Energy Star-certified dryers, the total savings would amount to $1.5 billion in bills per year. To boot, they’d also save an amount of greenhouse gas emissions that’s equivalent to the output of 2 million cars.
Still not sure you want to buy a new dryer? Here are a couple of reasons that might make you change your mind:
- Lower energy consumption. The average Energy Star-labeled dryer consumes 20% less energy than standard products. Gas-fueled appliances fare even better, even though only 20% of all dryers in the U.S. fall into this category. That’s likely because they require a dedicated gas pipe and also come with a higher initial price tag. An even more efficient option is that of heat pump dryers. Finally, the best way to use a dryer is with slow, low-heat cycles.
- Sensor-powered drying. Instead of timing drying cycles, most Energy Star dryers use sensors, which actually detect the level of moisture in your clothes. When the clothes are dry enough, the appliance powers itself off.
- Steam cycles. Unless you’re a freak, you probably would like a solution to help you avoid ironing. New dryers help prevent wrinkled clothing with steam cycles.
Old air cleaners can be genuine power guzzlers, with average yearly consumption levels of up to 550kWh/year. A lot of Energy Star-certified fridges use less than that!
If you want to save money, while also keeping your house pollen and dust-free, you should know that an Energy Star-certified air purifier consumes 40% less power than a conventional model. That means you stand to save 225kWh/year, $25 in power bills, and $215 throughout the lifespan of the appliance.
To buy the best product for your needs, bear in mind the square footage of the space where you plan on setting up the air purifier. Also, check out the air cleaner’s CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate). The higher that number, the quicker the air in room will be filtered.
With better refrigeration coils, compressors, and fans, it should come as no surprise that Energy Star-labeled dehumidifiers work just as well as older models—but also eat up 15% less power. Using one could save as much energy as you’d need to power an Energy Star fridge.
Here are a couple of things you will want to bear in mind, when shopping for a dehumidifier:
- How big and damp your space is. For selecting the best suited model, check out the chart below:
Image source: Energy Star
- If you have proper room to set it up. Dehumidifiers with top-mounted vents can be placed next to a wall, but any other model should be placed away from walls and furniture. Also, never place a dehumidifier next to a source of dust, debris, or electric power.
- Safe temperatures. For rooms where the average temperature usually falls below 65F, consider buying a special model. Energy Star certifies products that can work in temperatures of 42F. Otherwise, you risk exposing the device to the formation of frost, which can permanently damage it.
- Check out the Energy Factor (EF). The higher the EF, the more energy efficient your dehumidifier is.