What to look for
The Energy Star seal: When buying eco-friendly appliances, look for the EnergyGuide label. Energy Star is a joint program of the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with the goal of protecting the environment and saving money with the help of energy efficient products and practices.
When you're shopping for household appliances, check the yellow EnergyGuide label to discover the product's estimated energy consumption, how it compares to similar models, and estimated annual operating costs. Also, check to see if the product has earned the Energy Star. This means it meets strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the EPA and Department of Energy.
You can do your homework before stepping foot in a store by visiting the Energy Star website. Find Energy Star products and learn more about Energy Star at www.energystar.gov.
Start with the fridge: If you're planning to replace one appliance at a time, nix your refrigerator first. Since it's on 24 hours a day, it soaks up the most energy of all your appliances. Keep in mind that top freezer models use less energy than side-by-side refrigeration. Also, save energy by buying a fridge without an ice maker and front dispenser.
Washer and dryer: First, think about size. A large model will hold more clothes, but use more energy. Determine the best size for your family based on the size of your loads. Also, choose a model with a high Modified Energy Factor (MEF) and a low Water Factor (WF). Though Energy Star doesn't label dryers, a good rule of thumb is to choose a model with a moisture sensor. This feature automatically shuts off the machine when clothes are dry.
Dishwasher: If your dishwasher was installed prior to 1994, you're wasting about 8 gallons of water per cycle. Replace your old dishwasher with an Energy Star qualified model to save energy and cash.
Look for high efficiency compatible laundry products: Once you've selected a high efficiency washer, it's important to make the switch to a high efficiency laundry detergent. Most brands offer high efficiency products built especially for front loading machines. RESOLVE's in-wash stain remover, for example, can be used in both high efficiency and standard washers. Another green laundry option is dissolvable laundry detergent packs. Simply drop in a pre-measured, highly concentrated, dissolvable pack and let it do the dirty work!
Natural fabric softener sheets: Freshen and soften your laundry while helping the environment. Look for chlorine-free dryer sheets with plant derived softening agents. Bonus if they're compostable after use.
Choose highly concentrated dishwashing liquid: When your dishwashing liquid has a higher concentration, a little goes a long way. Automatic dishwasher detergent packs are another green option. Not only are they biodegradable, but they're also chlorine and phosphate free.
More ways to green your home