The data provided by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shows that 39 percent of total energy use in the United States is accounted for buildings. Divided further, it translates into 68 percent of total electricity consumption and 38 percent of the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions. As far as an average American household is concerned, about one-fifth of total energy consumption is attributed to electrical appliances. High-energy appliances increase the output of carbon emissions and other waste related to the operation of power plants. By using energy efficient appliances, every one of us can make a small contribution with great potential to cut down on our energy consumption.
The Importance of Being Energy Star
In order to promote purchasing of energy efficient appliances for households, the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have given incentives to manufacturers to start issuing Energy Star® appliances with lower energy requirements. In short, these appliances have features that make them consume much less energy than their older generation counterparts; although they come with a higher initial cost. Let’s see how we can benefit the environment and our electricity bill by switching to energy efficient appliances.
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Impact On Air Quality
Although a lot of effort to promote and introduce emission-free technologies, most power plants still burn coal, crude oil or other fossil fuels. This method of generating power is still the cheapest one out there. But our planet pays the biggest price; They are still releasing carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and many other airborne pollutants into the atmosphere. These “greenhouse gases” absorb the sun’s heat and retain it in our atmosphere. It’s a natural process that is essential for all life on earth. But since power plants burn a lot of fuel to generate energy, too much heat ends up trapped.
Unnatural Climate Changes
As a result of the greenhouse effect, the planet is experiencing rising temperatures at never before seen scale, which causes heat waves and droughts. The melting of polar ice caps leads to higher sea levels, with once complex coastal ecosystems disappearing under the surface. Global warming has been indirectly related to increased frequency and intensity of natural disasters, and abnormal weather patterns. If we put an effort in reducing the amount of electricity the power plants need to make, we can make a huge difference. Statistics show that if every American household replaced only one incandescent bulb with an efficient compact fluorescent one, the reduction in pollution would be equal to taking 1.3 million cars off the road.
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How Much You Can Save With Energy Efficient Appliances
The more energy-efficient your appliances are, the lower your electricity bill gets. On an annual level, it can amount to hundreds of dollars in savings. Whirlpool appliances use the Energy Star® system to indicate energy and water efficiency. And this can save 30 percent on electricity costs, on average. If you have taken significant steps to save energy through insulation, switching to energy-efficient appliances, etc., you may apply for the energy tax credit. Note, however, that it only applies to your principal residence, and not rentals or new projects.
Energy efficient appliances minimize not only pollution but also exploitation of natural resources, including natural gas, coal, oil, and water. In other words, it contributes to sustainable development. In the long run, energy-efficiency positively impacts national economies. Cumulative savings of homeowners amount to enormous savings on the national level. Although the energy savings of one household might seem insignificant, imagine how much seven billion people can save.
Written By Derek Lotts. He is an open source project manager for some GitHub projects related to environmental protection and sustainable energy. Also, he is an Advisory Editor at Smooth Decorator, DIY enthusiast, Specialist in various topics in home improvement.