Save Money: Buy a New Stove (and Clothes Dryer!)
Two more appliances go on an energy diet
As a lifelong miser—make that eco-conscious energy consumer—I am pleased to report that Washington is at long last contemplating a crackdown on that stout little guzzler, the stove.
You have perhaps heard me go off on my husband's promiscuous use of , which he seems to think grows on trees.
And yes, I know the fridge is the real elephant in the kitchen. It alone scarfs up an average of $60 worth of electricity a year, according to the federal , fourth only to the water heater, pool pump, and clothes dryer—which we'll get to in a minute.
But ovens are not exactly designed to conserve energy, especially at a time when the makers of pro-style ranges are scrambling to outdo one another's Btu-consumption claims.
Right now the only efficiency standard for ovens is a ban on standing pilot lights. (Young 'uns: At one time, gas burners were lit by a flame that flickered 24/7.) The new proposal would go much further, chopping energy use by electric ovens by up to 12 percent—and up to 33 percent for ones that cook with gas. If it goes through, consumers would save billions of dollars over the next 30 years, DOE says.
Urging DOE on is the nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council, which points out that along with saving money the proposal would also save lungs: If the proposal were enacted, carbon pollution emissions during the same 30-year period would drop by some .
As for clothes dryers… What are we waiting for? This year, for the first time, EPA is awarding Energy Star certification to dryers that outperform by under-consuming even the already energy-efficient. Making the switch to an Energy Star dryer might save you only about $20 a year in utility costs, but that adds up: If all the dryers sold in the U.S. met the grade, EPA says, consumers would save $1.5 billion a year.
To save money, of course, you have to spend money—in this case $950 or more for a top-rated dryer that carries the Energy Star label.
Speaking purely as a lifelong penny-watcher, let me throw out another idea. Remove your laundry from the dryer after it's been in just long enough to shake out the wrinkles, and let it dry on its own on a . Or go crazy and string up a clothesline.
Persuading the rest of your household to shake and hang… Well, that may require an expenditure of energy too. But at least it's not the kind that emits carbon.