Adam Wilmoth column: Consumers spurn some energy-efficient appliances
The adoption of Energy Star equipment varies among appliances, with higher adoption of dishwashers and televisions and lower adoption of water heaters, computers and freezers.
Like many things in life, energy conservation is an exercise in delayed gratification.
The issue essentially comes down to whether we as consumers are willing to pay more today to save money and energy throughout the life of our appliances.
Unfortunately for the utility companies contemplating spending billions on new power plants, it appears that while we are opting for energy efficient versions of many of our less-expensive items, fewer of us are taking advantage of the even greater energy savings of most power-hungry appliances.
The news comes from the U.S. Energy Information Agency, which this week released its study of the adoption of Energy Star appliances, which are the top 25 percent most-efficient in their product class.
The EIA findings show that more than 90 percent of the dehumidifiers, dishwashers and televisions sold in the country are Energy Star rated.
That adoption level compares to less than 5 percent for water heaters and less than a 25 percent adoption for freezers and desktop computers
Room air conditioners, clothes washers and refrigerators scored adoption rates between 55 and 65 percent.
Overall, more than 5 billion Energy Star products have been sold since the program began in 1992.
As of 2009, 41 million homes or 36 percent of the country, had energy star-qualified clothes washers in their homes, saving about 300 billion kilowatt hours and 110 trillion BTUs of energy and avoiding more than 25 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.