On March 19 the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) kicked off a new program that offers rebates to residents who purchase energy-efficient appliances. This “Buy Green Save Green” program ends on April 30th of this year, or when the $3.5 million budget has run out – whichever comes first.
If you’re a New York State resident you can receive a cash rebate of $350 when you purchase a refrigerator, or $250 when your purchase a clothes washer. The appliance must be CEE High Efficiency Tier 2 or 3 in order to be eligible for the rebate program. A list of eligible appliances is at nysappliancerebates.com.
Getting cash back is a plus but there are benefits to buying an energy-efficient appliance versus a non-energy-efficient one. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a 16 cubic-foot refrigerator can use upwards of 725 kilowatts of energy each year. That’s two or even three times the energy used by refrigerators eligible for the Buy Green Save Green rebate. Even new refrigerators that are not CEE rated, or are CEE Tier 1 class (not qualified for the rebate) use somewhere between 550 and 700 kilowatts per year. Still much higher than those qualified for the rebate.
Keep in mind that appliances can lose efficiency over time as well. While it’s not easy to calculate exactly how many kilowatts you add over time, there are lots of things that can cause your appliances to work harder and lead to loss of efficiency while shortening the lifespan of the machine to boot.
The Department of Energy offers tips on reducing energy costs at home and help to avoid overworking the motors in appliances. Using more detergent than necessary for a load of laundry creates sud build up, resulting in the engine working harder than normal. Maintaining proper seals and adjusting latches to prevent air leaks on a refrigerator prevents the motor from needless running. Keeping a full freezer allows for easy temperature maintenance and works the air compressor less as well. More tips and information are offered at energysavers.gov.
Energy consumption is the main factor to qualify an appliance for Energy Star ratings, plus it keeps your wallet happiest by chopping your electric bill down. Using refrigerators as the example still– the energy use of a Buy Green Save Green eligible fridge is generally somewhere between 350 and 430 kilowatts. That is about half the energy used by non-energy-efficient appliances. As for costs, a non-efficient fridge costs $60 per year on average. Cut the energy use in half and it cuts your bill in half each year, saving hundreds of dollars over the lifespan of the appliance.
Energy use is not the sole criteria when the EPA hands out Energy Star ratings. A manufacturer must use top-of the line insulation, more efficient compressors, modern heat-transfer materials, and use precise temperature and defrosting mechanisms. Washing machines must be designed to use less water and use modern sensors to control water temperature.
So if you’re still chugging along with appliances from the 80’s and 90’s, consider taking advantage of the Buy Green Save Green program. You’re almost guaranteed to save money, not to mention significantly reduce your emission footprint by replacing old appliances with the qualified ones of this program.