Although rebates for Energy Star appliances are no longer available, buying appliances that have an Energy Star tag can still save you money, V.I. Energy Office spokesman Don Buchanan said.
“This is what every resident can do to cut down on their electric bill,” he said.
The nation is observing Energy Awareness Month, and this year’s theme is “Words into Action; Action into Results.”
Buchanan said purchasing Energy Star appliances is particularly important in light of rising electricity costs.
To help get the message out, the Energy Office will be at the Marketplace shopping center on St. John Friday and at Tutu Park Mall on St Thomas on Saturday. Times at both locations are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Energy Office staff was at Sunny Isle shopping center on St. Croix on Tuesday providing information and energy-related products.
Buchanan said there will be giveaways including compact fluorescent light bulbs, brushes to clean under and behind your refrigerators, and other materials to help cut your electric bill.
Don’t be fooled by the energy costs indicated on the yellow sticker that comes on all Energy Star appliances, Buchanan said. Those costs reflect the typical savings for stateside buyers.
He said V.I. energy costs are four times those on the mainland, indicating buyers should multiply the number of the sticker by four.
Energy Star ratings are found on more than 65 different kinds appliances. A full list is available on the Energy Star website, but they include refrigerators, washers, dryers, dishwashers, air conditioners, freezers, televisions, water heaters, water coolers, computers, cordless phones and fans. Recently light bulbs and light fixtures were added to the list.
“But not stoves,” he said. “We recommend gas stoves.”
The Energy Office also suggests using surge protectors on appliances that can be turned off and on so you those little lights that indicate an appliance is on don’t continue to draw electricity.
Buchanan said that if you have an old cable television box, it may be using a lot more electricity than a newer one would. However, both can be turned off until you need them with a surge protector.
“You could save $10 or $15 a month,” he said.
While most people know that compact fluorescent lights save electricity over the incandescent bulbs, Buchanan said the newer LED lights provide even bigger savings. He said they have an estimated life span of 46 years, which will save you $900 over the life of the bulb. While they’re still more expensive than compact fluorescents, Buchanan said the price is coming down.
Buchanan said using the right sized pot on stove burners can save about $120 annually for an electric range or $18 for gas. Covering pots and pans also helps you cook more efficiently and keeps your kitchen cooler.
And keep the burners clean to ensure maximum efficiency, he said. Blue flames mean good combustion. Yellow flames mean service may be needed to ensure the gas is burning efficiently.
The Energy Star program is 20 years old. It’s a joint program between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Energy Office. According to the Energy Star website, over the past 20 years, the program helped Americans save nearly $230 billion in utility bills and prevented more than 1.7 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
“We have seen the Energy Star program grow to include nearly 20,000 organizations from every sector of the economy. More than 80 percent of Americans now recognize the Energy Star label,” EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said.