Energy efficiency has taken centre stage as one of the biggest issues facing the world today. Each of us can do our part in reducing energy consumption and greenhouse emissions by making a few simple changes in the choices we make. The good news is that the choices we make in home appliances and other homewares
don't require sacrifices in quality, cost or efficiency. Eco-friendly appliances do their jobs efficiently, they are energy-efficient, doing more per kilowatt of energy or litre of water while causing less environmental damage than old fashioned appliances.
Why Buy Eco-Friendly Appliances?
Today, buying eco-friendly appliances is a "win-win" solution for both consumers and the environment. Appliance manufacturers are now required by law to adhere to strict environmental standards and all appliances sold in Australia must have an Energy Star rating label prominently affixed to them before they can be offered for sale. Because of this and our increasing awareness of environmental issues, manufacturers now have to compete with each other on quality, cost and energy efficiency. As a consumer, this changes the question from "Why buy eco-friendly appliances" to "Why not buy eco-friendly appliances?" There really is nothing to lose and everything to gain - if you know what to look for and how to buy energy efficient appliances.
How to Buy Eco-Friendly Appliances
Government regulations have made it impossible to ignore the Energy Star label on appliances and the rating system is simple enough to understand at a glance. Each star represents a level of energy efficiency: the more stars, the more energy efficient and therefore eco-friendly the product is. When a product consumes both electric power and water, the Energy Star label will include ratings for both. If you are comparing reverse cycle air conditioners, the label will include separate ratings for heating and cooling.
As simple as the Energy Star rating system is for consumers, the process by which those ratings are arrived at is anything but simple. It is only after rigorous independent testing that a star rating is determined. Depending on the product, a difference of a single star can make a dramatic difference in a product's energy efficiency. For example, a difference of a single star on a fridge equals a 23% difference in energy efficiency. While a 3 star rated fridge may cost the same as a 2 star fridge with similar features, you will be consuming 23% less power if you choose the 3 star rated model.
Ovens and cooktops are an exception to the Energy Star rule, requiring no labelling in Australia. Whenever possible, buy gas cookers rather than electric. Gas cooktops and ovens, for example, have been preferred by chefs for generations because they offer a cook better heat control. They are also more eco-friendly than electric appliances. Another, more modern eco-friendly option is an induction cooktop. While these are still more expensive than other types of cooktops, they consume less energy than even gas cooktops.
You can find eco-friendly solutions everywhere today. Switch from standard lights to LED lights
wherever possible and drastically reduce your energy consumption. Think about your solar power
options and reduce your dependency on ecologically damaging power sources. The beauty of eco-friendly appliances and other products is that there is not a downside to them: in the long run, you save money and do your part to save the environment as well.