Energy conservation is in everyone’s interest, but it can also save you money.
Memorial Day has always been a great time to shop for mattresses and big appliances. And if you live Texas, once again you’ll get a break from state and local sales and use taxes if you buy certain ENERGY STAR appliances during the 3-day holiday weekend.
“Texans can save twice when purchasing energy efficient appliances during the Memorial Day weekend,” Texas Comptroller Susan Combs said. “Shoppers are expected to save about $2.9 million in sales tax during the holiday, and the energy efficient products will also help them save on their utility bills.”
ENERGY STAR savings vary
ENERGY STAR is now the international standard for energy efficient products. It originated in the U.S. in 1992, but since then has been adopted by several other countries including Australia, Canada, Japan and nations in the European Union. Devices with the label generally use 20-30% less power than federally required. That said, your savings will depend on the type of appliance you buy. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, paying more for ENERGY STAR appliances will pay off as follows:
- Room/Window Air Conditioners: 10%
- Refrigerators: 15%
- Ceiling Fans: 50%
- Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs: 75%
- Washing Machines: 20-35%
- Dishwashers: 10-20%
- Dehumidifiers: 15%
Utilities offer incentives too
When you are starting your research on buying new appliances or electronics for your home, make sure you also factor the savings offered from your utility by way of a rebate. Utilities work closely with the federal government to reward customers who make the choice to buy ENERGY STAR products. The U.S. Department of Energy has a complete list – state-by-state, then utility-by-utility – of the credits you may be eligible to get if you buy a product that meets your utility’s requirement for energy efficiency.
The ENERGY STAR program has its critics. You don’t have to look hard on the Internet to find disputes over the Department of Energy’s testing or claims of energy savings over the life of the plan. So your decision should be made based on what is best for your needs and your pocketbook. And reading consumer reviews on Viewpoints will help you know if the energy claims are real or overblown.
Editor’s note: If you have professional experience with refrigerators or dishwashers, Viewpoints is recruiting experts in priority product categories to write for our blog. Check out this overview of the Viewpoints Category Expert Program, including qualifications, compensation and how to apply.