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by Michael Jafari / Buffalo Sabres
The use of household appliances is a necessity, but have you wondered how much energy you are using to power up your home machines?

In an effort to conserve energy use and influence greener living, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy created a joint program called ENERGY STAR.  The intent of the program is to help protect the environment through energy efficient practices while also helping the American people save money.

A lot of manufacturers have teamed up with ENERGY STAR and produced more efficient products in the areas of household appliances, building products, computers, electronics, heating and cooling, lighting, fans and plumbing.

Household appliances such as clothes washers, dehumidifiers, dishwashers, freezers, refrigerators, room air cleaners and water purifiers tend to drain more energy annually than the other home generators.  All of these products and more are now manufactured using the ENERGY STAR program, and they can save you a lot of money on your utility bills. 

For example, replacing a refrigerator that was built in the 1980’s and replacing it with a modern ENERGY STAR labeled one can save you $100 each year on your electricity bill.  If you are shopping for any new household products, be sure to look for the items that have the ENERGY STAR logo next to them because they meet the energy efficiency guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.

If you are looking to make improvements to your home, the Environmental Protection Agency offers supplies, tools and resources to help you plan and construct projects to reduce your energy bills and improve home comfort.  Some of these building supplies include roof products, windows, doors, sky lights and light bulbs.  A study conducted by the US Department of Energy suggests that replacing ten 60-watt light bulbs with 13-watt compact fluorescent lights (CFL bulbs) can save you $420 over the life of the bulbs, which is equivalent in energy to operating an ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerator for almost nine years.

ENERGY STAR can be branded on more than just household appliances.  If you are looking for a new home, look for ones that have earned the ENERGY STAR label.  This could mean that the home has several products built-in to save energy such as air conditioning, boilers, vents, light fixtures, water heaters, furnaces, insulation and home or air sealing.  Although these products may be fairly new and could drive up the price of the house, you can re-coup the cost with the amount of money you will save on your utility bills.

According to research conducted by the U.S. government in 2009, Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved enough energy to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 30 million cars, while saving nearly $17 billion on their utility bills.  In addition, the energy efficient choices can save American families almost a third on their energy bill with similar savings on greenhouse gas emissions, without changing their lifestyles or overall comfort.  
ENERGY STAR helps you make the energy efficient choice.   To learn more about ENERGY STAR products, click here.

For tips on helping blue and gold make green or to become a Green Team member, click here.
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