This is part of our Materials Matters blog post series. Be sure to check out the previous entries: Green Materials, Plumbing, Heating, and Lighting.
Looking to find a replacement fridge, or outfitting an entirely new Kitchen? Make sure you take a closer look at the energy consumption of any appliances you're aiming to purchase. It will save you on your bottom line, and will keep those treasured plug loads low to keep your solar array cranking into net-positivity.
There are guidelines and information galore, and it's important to read the fine print on all aspects of the product in question - from wattage consumption, to cycling, to sound generation, and more.
Energy Star is the benchmark for energy efficient appliances in the United States and it is not difficult to find a broad range of options from almost every manufacturer. Although Energy Star appliances sometimes cost more to purchase, they will save you money on utility costs over the life of the equipment, and you can sometimes immediately save with local and national rebate programs.
Energy Star certifies almost every type of appliance, some types of building products, and various electronics. Many people choose Energy Star for major kitchen appliances like refrigerators and dishwashers, but do not necessarily think about other certified products, such as:
A notable exception is that Energy Star does not currently certify residential ovens, ranges, and microwaves.
In addition to the Energy Star label, compare and contrast on the specifications between units. You may find that, while two fridges share an Energy Star certification, they may still perform very differently from one another.