Thursday, May 15, 2008

Old Appliances Giving You Green Guilt?

I know my old appliances are not the most efficient, but I don't think I could give them up completely. Some, like the dishwasher and washing machine, are actually more energy and water efficient than washing by hand.

More efficient appliances are the answer, and there are all kinds of new models on the market. I don't know about you, but I can't really afford to replace all of my perfectly functional appliances with shiny new ones. So, I have to learn how to make the most of what I have.

A cleverly titled article in the NY Times, caught my eye, and helped ease my green guilt a little.
If Your Appliances Are Avocado, They Probably Aren’t Green - New York Times:
"Besides the money, is this really a good idea environmentally, to get rid of an appliance that is operating just fine to buy another one, even if it does have better energy standards?"
Appliance Info in the article from the Energy Star program:
  • When to Replace: Appliances over 15 years old should be replaced
    • Around 80% of the appliance is recyclable- check to see if your appliance stores and local government have recycling programs
    • Most appliance part are recycled even if brought to the landfill
    • Scrap prices are up right now- you probably won't have trouble finding someone to take the old one off your hands.
  • Refrigerators: Do not put your old fridge in the garage to keep your 12 canned beverages cold, it's very inefficient. If you need it occasionally or a party or holiday, only turn it on when you really need the space.
  • Washing Machines: Front load models are more efficient. They use less water and spin more out to reduce drying time.
  • Dishwashers: Hand-washing uses more water than a full dishwasher. Avoid rinsing before you load, let the machine do its job! The rinse and hold feature uses less than a gallon of water (how much water goes down the drain when you leave the water running and to rinse everything?).
  • Dryers: Unfortunately not much can be done to make these appliances use less energy. The only alternative is to hang your clothes out to dry, which is becoming more popular.
One more surprising tidbit from this article:
“You can save $50 to $100 a year just by turning off the screen saver,” and letting the computer go to sleep.

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