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 Energy-Efficient Appliances and Lighting For Green Homes 
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Post Energy-Efficient Appliances and Lighting For Green Homes
by: Kriss Bergethon

Many people are considering a solar-power kit or solar-panel system for their home. This is a wonderful way to save money, produce clean energy, and "go green". But before you do this you have to make sure your home is as energy-efficient as possible. The less energy you use, the greater impact your solar-power system will have on your wallet and the planet. This article will teach you about energy-efficient lighting and appliances.

Be an Energy Star

One of the best things you can do is to start putting energy efficiency high on your requirements when shopping for new appliances. Look for the ENERGY STAR logo. This is a government program intended to help consumers find the most energy efficient units. This program also puts the average consumption on each unit so that you can compare two appliances side by side.

Drying and Cooking

Generally creating heat with electricity is less efficient than creating heat by burning gas. Heating with electricity requires that the electrical current heat a coil, which then gives off heat. Gas appliances burn gas and discharge the heat directly to its intended use. This means that for cooking and drying, the best bang for your buck is with gas appliances. You'll notice with gas appliances that your clothes tend to dry quicker and your food cooks faster.

Washing Machines

With the emphasis on energy efficiency in the last few years, high-efficiency (HE) washers have gained in popularity. Many HE washers use 70% less water in each load. They use a side load feature, instead of top load, which means less water is needed since the clothes spin through the water sitting at the bottom of the drum.

Conventional top-load washer need to fill the drum up with water for the clothes to get wet. The HE units spend less time and energy filling the tub, draining the tub, and rinsing the clothes. It also means there is less weight for the drum to spin, saving energy. In arid areas, some water companies are offering rebates for water efficient appliances. Remember, saving water and saving energy go hand in hand.

Power Strips & Electronics

Most electronic devices draw a "phantom load" of up to one-third of their operating power. This means that even when your DVD player is technically off, it is drawing electricity. This electricity is often intended to allow remote controls to work (if your DVD player was completely off the remote would not work).

This may not sound like much, but if every electronic device is drawing a little power 24 hours a day this can add up. The best way to get rid of this waste is to get a power strip for each area of the house that has several of these devices (e.g. the home office, the entertainment center, the kitchen). At the end of each evening, and as you leave for work, just make a habit of going around and shutting off the all the power strips.


By now you've probably heard of Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL's). These lights can use up to 80% less energy than conventional incandescent light bulbs. Remember how electricity uses a current through a coil to generate heat? Conventional light bulbs work much the same way. You can see the coil in an old incandescent light bulb. With CFLs, a gas is heated to generate light, using far less electricity and in most cases lasting much longer. These lights should be standard issue in every home these days. Just make sure to get the low-mercury bulbs. And don't forget, solar garden and security lights can handle virtually any outdoor lighting needs you have.


When getting rid of your old appliances, don't forget about the environment. Many appliances, especially refrigerators, contain harmful chemicals and gases. Call your local waste management company for proper methods of disposal for older units. Even better than disposal is recycling your old fridges, stoves, and washers. Many companies will come and take them off your hands for a minimal charge, and they strip down the metal components for scrap and rebuild parts that can be reused. Another great way to recycle: Craiglist or your local classified ads. Many first time home buyers, landlords, and dormitories take old appliances and use them.

About The Author
Kriss Bergethon is a writer and solar expert from Colorado.

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This article was posted by permission.

Fri Feb 05, 2010 7:28 am
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