Posts Tagged Energy Star

Digital Electrical Meters

Posted by on Tuesday, 1 June, 2010

It’s important to track your energy usage if you’re interested in reducing it. A target such as 20% less electricity is much easier to obtain when you’re aware of how much power appliances in your home use. Even smaller appliances such as toasters and ovens can use more power than you expect, especially if you have already purchased energy efficient larger appliances such as washing machines and refrigerators.

One method of monitoring your energy usage is suggested by a blog post at the Energy Savers Blog at the US Department of Energy. A digital electrical meter can track the power usage for an individual electrical appliance and give you the precise information on how much electricity it uses. This is very useful if you are using older electrical appliances that do not clearly state how much power they use, newer Energy Star appliances may state their power usage on a sticker pasted on the appliance itself.

The blog post is about getting a digital electrical meter and installing it. The poster wanted to borrow an electrical meter from the library, but of course the library wants to lend out books and maybe videos, CDs, and DVDs, it doesn’t want to lend out home appliances. That’s actually an interesting concept that would be an innovative community project. There’s no reason a city like Ventura can’t loan out digital electrical meters, or even other energy efficient tools such as lawnmowers and chainsaws. This isn’t something most cities have done in the past, but libraries were not common around the nation either until Andrew Carnegie decided to support education around the United States by providing grants for US cities to set up libraries.

A web page at my alma mater, Humboldt State University, explains how digital electrical meters operate. Basically, it’s a device that plugs into an appliance. Instead of directly connecting an appliance to a wall socket, you plug the appliance’s power cord into the digital electrical meter, and then you plug the electrical meter itself into the wall socket. Be sure that you have extra power cords on hand in case the meter doesn’t come with extra cords when you buy it. Humboldt reminds you to take care of these power meters, using a soft cloth to clean the screen, instead of an abrasive paper towel. I’d recommend purchasing one rather than renting it as they sell for about $200, and you will want to keep one around the house to test out new appliances you purchase. As far as I know there isn’t a government rebate specifically for digital electrical meters like there is for energy efficient refrigerators, air conditioners, and washing machines, but there might be a program in the future.

California Energy Star Rebates for Washing Machines, Refrigerators, and Air Conditioners

Posted by on Thursday, 15 April, 2010

The Energy Star Rebate program, also part of the Recovery Act, provides rebates to buyers of household appliances. Appliances have to qualify as energy efficient, and there has been some debate over unacceptable appliances recently. Recent scandals involved rebate approval for green products that weren’t actually green, so the state governments paying out the rebates are now paying a lot closer attention to the Energy Star rebates.

California’s program for energy star rebates is called Cash for Appliances. The program begins accepting rebate applications on Earth Day and continues for a month afterward, from 4/22/2010 to 5/23/2010. Surprisingly enough, the California government allows rebate applications to be sent in as late as 6/25/2010 in case people need a month to send in the Energy Star rebate coupon. As with the Cash for Clunkers program, the California rebates only apply to the replacement of appliances. People must turn in their older, less energy efficient appliances to program participants and have them destroyed. Like the cars, destroying an appliance and purchasing a new one will cost a consumer more money than they receive through the rebate, although the consumer receives the money back over time with reduced energy bills, especially if energy prices increase in the future. The effects of Peak Oil and carbon taxes are likely to raise the cost of purchasing heating oil, propane, and other products necessary to fuel home appliances, so an opportunity to get federal subsidies is very helpful. For example, a consumer can receive a two hundred dollar rebate on a new refrigerator or a one hundred dollar rebate on a new washing machine, or a fifty dollar rebate for an air conditioner, as long as it is purchased and installed in California. The program isn’t going to pay for transporting the new washing machine home or hooking it up in a consumer’s house, or dragging away the old washing machine, although home improvement stores and other retailers who sell these products may offer deals there.