If you’ve shopped for appliances recently, you’ve likely noticed that energy-efficient appliances dominate the market. When they’re sitting on the floor of a showroom, the price difference can be a big factor. Yes, a refrigerator with an “Energy Star” sticker may reduce your carbon footprint, but when you’re spending money, environmental responsibility may take a backseat to your bank balance.
But that added expense may not be as bad as it seems on the surface. You may pay more for your energy-saving appliance today, but once your item arrives at your home or business, the savings will begin. It’s important to consider how much you’ll be able to save before completely ruling out energy-efficient appliances while you’re shopping.
Reduced Operating Costs
Manufacturers must meet regulations when building appliances that they’ll advertise as energy savers. As a result, owners enjoy substantial cost savings on electricity after making the switch. For instance, an Energy Star-certified washer uses 25 percent less energy and 45 percent less water than washers that don’t offer that feature. While results can vary based on the type of washer, Energy Star estimates that this one appliance can save a household $45 a year on utilities.
In addition to the appliances inside a home or business, the HVAC system that provides heat and cooling can bring a savings. Energy Star estimates that switching out an HVAC system in a home can reduce utility bills by as much as $115 a year. For businesses and commercial building owners, upgrading to a more energy-efficient unit can reduce operating cost without sacrificing tenant comfort. It’s important to consider these factors, especially if your HVAC system is more than ten years old.
When consumers switch to energy-saving appliances, the planet benefits. To encourage homes and businesses to shift toward contributing to environmental efforts, the government offers federal tax credits each year. Information on obtaining these rebates is available on Energy Star’s website. Currently, tax credits are only available for solar energy systems, but it’s important to watch this page to see if any changes are made as the legislative season continues.
In addition to tax credits, consumers can also benefit from product rebates, available by geographic location. These rebates are offered by local municipalities to encourage conservation of resources and can save a consumer hundreds of dollars on the purchase of a new appliance. By researching the rebates and tax credits available before you start shopping, you’ll be able to accurately compare the cost of an energy-saving appliance to one without those features and determine if it’s worth it. Restrictions also apply to each of the rebates you’ll find, so you should pay close attention to the fine print as part of your decision.
Buying new appliances can be challenging, but when you know the full cost savings that can come from purchasing an energy-saving appliance, you can make a fully-informed decision. Depending on the length of time you plan to stay in your current building, you may find that you easily recoup the extra cost of an energy-saving appliance through reduced utility costs, making it well worth it.
If you’d like to learn more about saving energy and money, contact one of our Energy Managers.