California/Arizona Energy Council
Providing Renewable Energy Solutions and Awareness to Homeowners

CAEC is not a government agency. This corporation was created to provide energy saving information to homeowners and help promote energy efficient improvements.

page: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5


CAEC Energy Education Center

Dishwashers

Image of the yellow EnergyGuide label with arrows pointing to two numbers in large type. The estimated yearly operating cost is $67 and the estimated yearly electricity use is 630 kilowatt hours.
How to Read the EnergyGuide Label
The EnergyGuide label gives you two important pieces of information you can use to compare different brands and models when shopping for a new refrigerator:

  • Estimated yearly operating cost based on the national average cost of electricity.

  • Estimated energy consumption on a scale showing a range for similar models

Most of the energy used by a dishwasher is for water heating. The EnergyGuide label estimates how much power is needed per year to run the appliance and to heat the water based on the yearly cost of natural gas and electric water heating.

Dishwasher Tips

  • Check the manual that came with your dishwasher for the manufacturer's recommendations on water temperature; many have internal heating elements that allow you to set the water heater in your home to a lower temperature (120°F).

  • Scrape, don't rinse, off large food pieces and bones. Soaking or prewashing is generally only recommended in cases of burned-on or dried-on food.

  • Be sure your dishwasher is full, but not overloaded, when you run it.

  • Avoid using the "rinse hold" on your machine for just a few soiled dishes. It uses 3 to 7 gallons of hot water each time you use it.

  • Let your dishes air dry; if you don't have an automatic air-dry switch, turn off the control knob after the final rinse and prop the door open slightly so the dishes will dry faster.

Long-Term Savings Tip

  • When shopping for a new dishwasher, look for the ENERGY STAR label to find a dishwasher that uses less water and 41% less energy than required by federal standards.

Tips: Appliances

Illustration=
 showing the invoice and purchase price tag for an appliance.

Illustration showing the operating price tag for an appliance and many utility bills.
What's the Real Cost?
Every appliance has two price tags=97the purchase price and the operating cost. Consider both when buying a new appliance.

Appliances account for about 17% of your household's energy consumption, with refrigerators, clothes washers, and clothes dryers at the top of the consumption list.

When you're shopping for appliances, think of two price tags. The first one covers the purchase price=97think of it as a down payment. The second price tag is the cost of operating the appliance during its lifetime. You'll be paying on that second price tag every month with your utility bill for the next 10 to 20 years, depending on the appliance. Refrigerators last an average of 14 years; clothes washers about 11 years; dishwashers about 10 years; and room air conditioners last 9 years.

When you do shop for a new appliance, look for the ENERGY STAR label. ENERGY STAR products usually exceed minimum federal standards by a substantial amount. The appliance shopping guide lists some of the major appliances that carry the ENERGY STAR label and provides helpful information on what to look for when shopping for an appliance.

To help you figure out whether an appliance is energy efficient, the federal government requires most appliances to display the bright yellow and black EnergyGuide label. Although these labels will not tell you which appliance is the most efficient, they will tell you the annual energy consumption and operating cost for each appliance so you can compare them yourself. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy provides information to consider when deciding on new appliances.

What's a kilowatt?

When you use electricity to cook a pot of rice for 1 hour, you use 1000 watt-hours of electricity! One thousand watt-hours equals 1 kilowatt-hour, or 1 kWh. Your utility bill usually shows what you are charged for the kilowatt-hours you use. The average residential rate is 9.4 cents per kWh. A typical U.S. household consumes about 11,000 kWh per year, costing an average of $1,034 annually.

Bar chart showing the appliance use of common home appliances in cost per year and kWh per year: electric blanket: <$42, <500kWh, TV: <$42, <500kWh, microwave oven: <$42, <500kWh, dehumidifier: <$42, <500kWh, well pump: <$42, <500kWh, home computer: $42-$83, 500-1000kWh, aquarium/terrarium: $42-$83, 500-1000kWh, dishwasher: $42-$83, 500-1000kWh, electric cooking: $42-$83, 500-1000kWh, freezer: $42-$83, 500-1000kWh, waterbed heater: $42-$83, 500-1000kWh, clothes dryer: $42-$83, 500-1000kWh, washing machine: $42-$83, 500-1000kWh, refrigerator: $83-$125, 1000-1500kWh, pool pump: $83-$125, 1000-1500kWh, spa (pump and heater): $166-$208, 2000-2500kWh.
How Much Electricity Do Appliances Use?
This chart shows how much energy a typical appliance uses per year and its corresponding cost based on national averages. For example, a refrigerator uses almost five times the electricity the average television uses. Visit www.energysavers.gov for instructions on calculating the electrical use of your appliances.

Tips: Lighting

Illustration=
 of a compact fluorescent light bulb.

Compact Fluorescent Bulbs — A Bright Idea!
ENERGY STAR qualified lighting provides bright, warm light and uses about 75% less energy than standard lighting, produces 75% less heat, and lasts up to 10 times longer.

Making improvements to your lighting is one of the fastest ways to cut your energy bills. An average household dedicates 11% of its energy budget to lighting. Using new lighting technologies can reduce lighting energy use in your home by 50% to 75%. Advances in lighting controls offer further energy savings by reducing the amount of time lights are on but not being used.

Indoor Lighting

Use linear fluorescent tubes and energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) in fixtures throughout your home to provide high-quality and high-efficiency lighting. Fluorescent lamps are much more efficient than incandescent (standard) bulbs and last about 6 to 12 times longer.

Today's CFLs offer brightness and color rendition that is comparable to incandescent bulbs. Although linear fluorescent and CFLs cost a bit more than incandescent bulbs initially, over their lifetime they are cheaper because of how little electricity they use. CFL lighting fixtures are now available that are compatible with dimmers and operate like incandescent fixtures.

Indoor Lighting Tips

Image of a compact fluorescent bulb over a recycling symbol.
CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing. Many retailers are offering free recycling services for consumers at their stores.
Image of a shopping bag filled with different types of compact fluorescent bulbs.
ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs are available in sizes and shapes to fit in almost any fixture.
  • Be sure to buy ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs.

    • They will save you about $30 or more in electricity costs over each bulb's lifetime.

    • Producing about 75% less heat, they are safer to operate and can cut home cooling costs.

    • Visit www.energystar.gov to find the right light bulbs for your fixtures. They are available in sizes and shapes to fit in almost any fixture.

    • They provide the greatest savings in fixtures that are on for a long time each day. The best fixtures to use qualified CFLs in are usually found in your family and living rooms, kitchen, dining room, bedrooms, and outdoors.

  • Consider purchasing ENERGY STAR qualified fixtures. They are available in many styles including table, desk and floor lamps — and hard-wired options for front porches, dining rooms, bathroom vanity fixtures, and more.

  • ENERGY STAR qualified fixtures distribute light more efficiently and evenly than standard fixtures and they deliver convenient features such as dimming on some indoor models.

  • Controls such as timers and photo cells save electricity by turning lights off when not in use. Dimmers save electricity when used to lower light levels. Be sure to select products that are compatible with CFL bulbs; not all products work with CFLs.

  • When remodeling, look for recessed downlights, or "cans", that are rated for contact with insulation (IC rated).

  • Take advantage of daylight by using light-colored, loose-weave curtains on your windows to allow daylight to penetrate the room while preserving privacy. Also, decorate with lighter colors that reflect daylight.

  • If you have torchiere fixtures with halogen lamps, consider replacing them with compact fluorescent torchieres. Compact fluorescent torchieres use 60% to 80% less energy and do not get as hot as halogen torchieres.

Outdoor Lighting

Many homeowners use outdoor lighting for decoration and security. When shopping for outdoor lights, you will find a variety of products, from low-voltage pathway lighting to motion-detector floodlights. Light emitting diodes, or LEDs, thrive in outdoor environments because of their durability and performance in cold weather. Look for ENERGY STAR LED products such as pathway lights, step lights, and porch lights for outdoor use.

Outdoor Lighting Tips

LED — A New Kind of Light

Light emitting diodes, or LEDs, offer better light quality than incandescent bulbs, last 25 times as long, and use even less energy than CFLs. Look for ENERGY STAR qualified LED products at home improvement centers and lighting showrooms.

  • Because outdoor lights are usually left on a long time, using CFLs in these fixtures will save a lot of energy. Most bare spiral CFLs can be used in enclosed fixtures that protect them from the weather.

  • CFLs are also available as flood lights. These models have been tested to withstand the rain and snow so they can be used in exposed fixtures. Most though, cannot be used with motion detectors.

  • Look for ENERGY STAR qualified fixtures that are designed for outdoor use and come with features like automatic daylight shut-off and motion sensors.