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Energy efficiency appliances: Worth the investment?

Written by Terri Williams

Last updated August 29, 2019

Jessie Casson/DigitalVision/Getty images

When purchasing appliances, you want a machine that works hard, is long-lasting and fits within your budget. Determining whether an appliance is a good investment is more complicated than just considering the purchase price. You should also evaluate the cost of ownership – in other words, how much an appliance will cost to operate – it’s energy efficiency.

Energy-efficient appliances are often touted as a better value because they help consumers save energy – which also saves money. But how much can you really save? Is it really worth it to purchase an energy-efficient appliance?

“Absolutely,” according to Matt Daigle, founder and CEO of Rise, an online sustainable home improvement site. “Energy Star appliances will save you 10% to 50% of the energy required, depending on the comparison model – and much more if you are replacing an old appliance.”

Energy Star is a program by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. An appliance with an Energy Star label has been certified to save energy, money, and the environment. Many brands offer appliances that meet the Energy Star criteria, such as Samsung, GE, and LG, as well as Miele, Hotpoint, Blomberg, Beko, Insignia, Marathon, Daewoo, and Crosley.

In addition, there are Energy Star Best Value appliances for consumers on a budget.

“When it comes to comparing appliance models, the EnergyGuide label lets homeowners know how much energy a product uses and how that compares to similar models,” Daigle says. “One unique feature is that it includes an energy consumption indicator, which positions the model compared with the most efficient and least efficient models in the same class.”

Following are the energy-savings for popular appliances types.

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Clothes washers

The average family funnels approximately 300 loads of laundry through the washing machine each year. An Energy Star certified washing machine can reduce your energy costs by 33% and cut your water costs by more than 50%. The EPA also notes that more efficient motors spin more water out of your clothes, which means your dryer doesn’t have to work as hard.

Clothes dryers

Admittedly, clothes dryers use a lot of energy to dry your laundry. However, a dryer that bears the Energy Star label uses 20% less energy than a standard model.

Refrigerators and freezers

An Energy Star certified refrigerator uses 15% less energy, and the EPA states that it uses less energy than a 60W light bulb.  An Energy Star certified freezer uses 10% less energy than one without the label.


An Energy Star certified dishwasher uses 10% less energy and 20% less water. According to the EPA, over the lifetime of the dishwasher, you will save more than 1,900 gallons of water. The dishwashers that earn the certification are more advanced than older models and can clean much more efficiently.


You may not have realized how much energy a standard dehumidifier uses. According to the EPA, it consumes more energy than a washing machine, dishwasher, and refrigerator combined! However, a model with an Energy Star label uses 15% less energy and will save you $175 over the lifetime of the appliance.

Room air cleaners and purifiers

Energy Star certified room air cleaners and purifiers offer significant energy savings. They’re 40% more energy-efficient, which means you would save $25 a year compared to using the standard versions of these appliances.

Room air conditioner

By replacing your room air conditioner with one that bears the Energy Star label, the EPA states that you will spend less than $75 a year to operate it. That’s because the appliances that have earned the label use higher quality insulation materials, and have a better seal between the window opening and the unit.

Terri Williams is a freelance journalist with bylines at The Economist, USA Today, Yahoo, the Houston Chronicle, and U.S. News & World Report. Connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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