If you are looking for ways to make improvements to your home’s energy efficiency yourself, upgrading your major appliances is a good place to start. Since the refrigerator is something we use every day and depend on to store our food, it makes sense to consider upgrading to a more efficient model. And as an added bonus, a refrigerator with the latest technological innovation might add a little convenience and ease to your everyday life as well.
How Much Energy is Your Refrigerator Using?
Discovering how much electricity your appliances are currently using and what your actual yearly costs are to operate them is a great starting point when considering an energy efficient upgrade. Then you can see firsthand the potential cost savings when comparing your current energy costs to those of a more efficient model. Energy.gov offers an “Energy Saver” resource on its website to help you do just that. To get an idea of what you might be spending on your energy bill, you can start with its easy-to-use tool that calculates the estimated annual electricity consumption and costs to operate a variety of appliances. It also provides detailed instructions if you’d like to calculate the energy usage of the specific model you own, using a formula that includes the number of hours per day the appliance is used and its wattage, which is the maximum amount of power drawn by the appliance (for refrigerators this number is usually stamped or labeled on its backside).
The ENERGY STAR® Difference
The ENERGY STAR® label is well-recognized as the gold standard in energy efficient appliances, and for a good reason. Appliances must earn the ENERGY STAR® label by meeting strict energy-efficiency specifications established by the U.S. EPA. When it comes to refrigerators, those that are ENERGY STAR®-certified are about 9% more efficient than the average model that only meets the minimum federal standard for energy efficiency. That difference can quickly add up to a significant energy savings over time when you consider the electricity costs of running your refrigerator 24/7. So for starters, choosing a refrigerator with an Energy Star label is a must for improving your energy usage.
Find the Right Energy Efficient Refrigerator for You
Now that you’ve narrowed your options to an ENERGY STAR®-certified refrigerator, the best place to begin your search is on EnergyStar.gov using its incredibly helpful product finder. This search feature allows you to not only search for ENERGY STAR®-certified refrigerators that meet your criteria – such as price, top- or bottom-freezer, ice maker, and dimensions – but you can also apply a filter to sort by the most efficient refrigerators available on the market right now, complete with the latest technology and highest level of energy savings and environmental protection. You can also sort your results by several options, including annual energy use.
Recycling for Old Refrigerators
If you’ve found your perfect refrigerator and your old refrigerator is too old or inefficient to be repurposed, EnergyStar.gov offers resources to help you locate a refrigerator recycling program. Recycling old refrigerators is important because the ozone-depleting chemicals and foam, PCBs, mercury and used oil they contain can all be recovered and safely disposed of, rather than harming the environment. Plastics, glass, and metals are also recycled (this can be more than 120 lbs. of steel for a refrigerator aged 10 years or older). This is exactly what EPA’s Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) Program ensures when you recycle your fridge with one of their retail partners in the program. Many of these retailers will pick up and recycle your old refrigerator when you purchase a new one and some offer cash rebates.
Score Your Home’s Energy Efficiency
In all, choosing to upgrade to a more energy efficient refrigerator helps you not only to save both energy and money, but those small changes are a meaningful investment in our climate and clean energy future. If you are interested in learning about more ways you can lower your home’s energy use, a home energy score provides a clear report that prioritizes the most effective improvements you can make to improve your home’s overall efficiency. Schedule an appointment today!