energy saving

Saving Money Before it Goes Down the Drain

How much can you save by looking for the ENERGY STAR?

By Steve Ryan

Water heating is the second highest source of energy usage in your home, and no matter what the season, hot water is a necessity.  The average water heater lasts about 13 years, but many water heaters are in use past their life expectancy. Nearly 2.5 [1] million water heaters will fail this year, leaving their owners without hot water (and with wet basements). By being proactive, and replacing your water heater before it fails, you’ll have more options. And you’ll avoid cleaning up a flood in your basement.

If you need to replace your current gas or electric water heater or are planning for an upgrade, you should choose a water heating system that not only provides enough hot water, but does so without wasting energy. Look for an ENERGY STAR certified water heater to save energy and money, while also reducing your carbon footprint.

For example, if you replace your old electric storage water heater with an ENERGY STAR model, the annual savings range from $290 for the average household to $670 for a family of six (see graph).  Even with the extra costs for a heat pump water heater (HPWH), which average about $850 (including insulation), you will still see fast savings.

  • For the average household, an ENERGY STAR HPWH pays back in 3 years and saves $2,050 over its 10-year lifespan.
  • For a six-member family, an ENERGY STAR HPWH pays back in 1.3 years and saves $5,850 over its 10-year lifespan.

If you are in the market for a new water heater, check and see if your utility is offering rebates.  For example, Mass Save, an initiative sponsored by Massachusetts’ gas and electric utilities and energy efficiency service providers, currently offers a $1,000 rebate for ENERGY STAR certified heat pump water heaters.  This one purchase can go a long way in terms of saving on your energy bills and taking action against climate change. Just think–if every appliance purchased in the United States this year earned the ENERGY STAR, we would prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the emissions from 420,000 cars.

Steve Ryan started working for the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Program in 1999.  He currently manages a national campaign to promote power management called “The Low Carbon IT Campaign.”  For more information and to  get step by step instructions on how to put your computer into low power mode, go to http://www.energystar.gov/powermanagement.

 


[1] ENERGY STAR Water Heater Market Profile, U.S. DOE, September 2010. 8 million sold in 2009 (p. 2).  82% replacement, 65% replacements are unit failure, 60% of unit failures are emergencies. (p. 21).  Doing the math, we get 8 million*.82*.65*.6 = 2.5 million.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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It’s ENERGY STAR Day!

By: Brittney Gordon-Williams

Today, EPA celebrates the first-ever ENERGY STAR Day in honor of the program’s 20th anniversary. It is a chance for EPA, our partners and everyday people to celebrate the amazing strides that we have made together in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by saving energy. If you made a change to become more energy efficient this year, today is your day to celebrate with EPA!

For those of us at ENERGY STAR, this day is the perfect opportunity to highlight what people across the country are doing to protect our climate. Over the past few years EPA has witnessed a growing grassroots movement toward energy efficiency, and in 2006 we launched the Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR campaign to help people in their energy saving journey. Six years later we are excited to see the amazing things that are being accomplished as people across the country commit to becoming more energy efficient.

This year’s campaign featured something for everyone interested in learning more about protecting the climate:

  • This year the ENERGY STAR Pledge reached a huge milestone. Over 3 million people have taken the pledge, committing to making simple lifestyle changes to help protect the environment from climate change.
  • Thousands of young people joined Team ENERGY STAR this year, committing to learning about energy-efficiency and teaching their friends and families how to save energy. Check out the Team ENERGY STAR success stories here!
  • ENERGY STAR’s industry partners held over 950 energy-efficiency educational events as part of the ENERGY STARs Across America event series. EPA hosted an online map that allowed people across the country to find events in their local area, in order to encourage their energy saving journey.

As EPA wraps up the campaign in the next couple of weeks, we are calling on people to tell the world what they have done to protect the climate. One easy way to do this is by joining our Twitter Party this afternoon! At 2 pm EDT EPA will be engaging the social media universe in a discussion on energy saving and we want you to share your story. Just follow the hashtag #TeamENERGYSTAR. EPA and its partners will be hosting ENERGY STAR Day events from Oct. 10th-24th, so follow us on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date information on events that you can participate in.

Happy ENERGY STAR Day!

About the Author: Brittney Gordon works on the ENERGY STAR communications team. She has worked for EPA since 2010.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Check out the STARs!

By Brittney Gordon

On behalf of EPA’s ENERGY STAR program, I’d like to extend a big thank you to all of you who participated in our Be an ENERGY STAR Video Challenge! It was inspiring to see the response to our basic challenge—in April we asked everyday Americans to send in videos documenting the energy saving actions they are taking in their home, school, workplace, or community. We received more than 60 submissions and they all provided helpful tips to help us all save energy and protect the environment.

After months of collecting videos and allowing the public to vote on their favorites we now have our top picks.

Drum roll please…

The top videos of the Be an ENERGY STAR Video Challenge are:

Journey of Energy, produced by the Free Union Homeschoolers, Great Meadows, N.J.
Wasting Electricity and You, Gaithersburg, MD
Kentucky Green & Healthy Schools are Energy Stars, Frankfort, Ky.
Energy Zappers, produced by the Benton County Boys and Girls Club of America, Bentonville, Ark.
Twig and Eco ENERGY STAR PSA, produced by La Quinta Boys and Girls Club Torch Club, La Quinta, Calif.

The public voted for their favorites on ENERGY STAR’s Facebook page and they picked some awesome videos. The top videos feature people of all ages and backgrounds working to save energy in their homes and communities. EPA produced a culmination video to highlight all of the top picks. You can check it out

From celebs to everyday people, we collected over 60 videos of people working to protect the environment and save energy. Want to check out the rest of the videos? Just go to the video challenge tab on ENERGY STAR’s Facebook page.

About the author: Brittney Gordon is a member of the communication’s team for EPA’s ENERGY STAR program.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Energy-Saving Tricks and Treats

By Brittney Gordon

For many, Halloween is one of the best holidays of the year. From the endless bags of candy to the costumes, it is the one night where adults and kids alike can pretend to be anyone they want to be, and have a lot of fun doing it. For weeks friends have asked me what I am going to dress up as, but to tell you the truth I haven’t the foggiest idea. I am kind of last minute when it comes to this holiday (okay, all holidays) and I will probably run to the costume store just in time to get the scraps leftover by the more time serious Halloween shoppers.

While I may be slow when it comes to picking out a costume, I am focused on being right on time when it comes to the energy efficient things I can do in my home this Halloween. Below is a simple list of things we can all do to save energy and protect the environment before and after we go trick-or-treating.

Trick for heat: When is the last time you checked your heating system’s air filter? You should do it every month and change it every three months. While you are at it, this is a great time to have a qualified professional tune up your system with a pre-season maintenance checkup. If it’s time to replace your system, look for the ENERGY STAR.

Protect Yourself from Vampires: No, I am not talking about the latest “Twilight” movie. Instead I am referring to “vampire power” or standby power. It is the electric power consumed by electronics and appliances while they are switched off or in a standby mode. ENERGY STAR qualified models use a lot less energy in standby mode. Looking for an easy way to remember to turn everything off? Plug all of your electronics into a power strip. Flipping the switch turns everything off at once.

Don’t Waste Your Heat on Ghosts: By properly using a programmable thermostat, you can ensure that you are not unnecessarily heating the home when you are away or sleep. Programming a lower temperature for when you go to work and go to sleep can save you up to $180 a year in energy costs—a pretty sweet treat!

Check for more energy-saving tips.

About the author: Brittney Gordon is a communications team member for EPA’s ENERGY STAR program. She came to EPA in 2010 after a career in Broadcast Journalism.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Question of the Week: When it comes to computers, do you minimize energy use?

Each week we ask a question related to the environment. You can answer the poll or let us know your thoughts as comments. Feel free to respond to earlier comments or post new ideas. Previous questions.

It’s time to go back to school, so many Americans are replacing their computers. You can look for the Energy Star label to find one that uses less electricity. When you get your computer home, you can choose energy-saving settings like when to turn off the monitor.

When it comes to computers, do you minimize energy use?
(leave a comment | en español)

[poll id=”7″]

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En español: Cada semana hacemos una pregunta relacionada al medio ambiente. Por favor comparta con nosotros sus pensamientos y comentarios. Siéntase en libertad de responder a comentarios anteriores o plantear nuevas ideas. Preguntas previas.

Ha llegado el regreso al colegio y muchos estadounidenses están reemplazando sus computadoras. Busque la etiqueta Energy Star para encontrar una que use menos electricidad. En casa, puede seleccionar opciones para ahorrar energía como apagar el monitor.

¿Cuando se trata de computadoras, cómo minimiza el uso de energía?

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.