BBB Tip: What You Should Know About Energy-Efficient Appliances

Customer choosing energy-efficient fridge

We’ve all seen the blue ENERGY STAR® logo on appliances. But is it worth buying Energy Star certified appliances?

The Energy Star label is designed to make it easier for consumers to shop for energy efficient appliances. However, it’s important to find out what it’s all about and whether the appliances that qualify are really worth the expense.

If you’re looking for a new dishwasher, washing machine, refrigerator, or other major appliance, check out these tips from the BBB Los Angeles & Silicon Valley on green appliances, long-term energy savings, and whether upgrading to an Energy Star appliance is worth every penny.

What is Energy Star®?

Energy Star started in 1992 as a joint program of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) to:

  • “Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants caused by the inefficient use of energy; and
  • Make it easy for consumers to identify and purchase energy-efficient products that offer savings on energy bills without sacrificing performance, features, and comfort.”


Energy Star and its partners help Americans save about 500 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity and avoid $39 billion in energy costs every year. These savings incorporate a wide range of products and not only appliances.

Energy Star certified appliances fall into the following categories:


An Energy Star certified dehumidifier uses nearly 15% less energy than a conventional unit, making it much more energy efficient. According to Energy Star, the annual energy saved could power a Energy Star certified refrigerator for nearly two months.

Air Purifiers

Energy Star says certified room air purifiers are 40% more energy-efficient than standard models. It could save you about 225 kWh/year and $30 on your annual utility bill.

It may not seem like a lot, but these savings could total $235 over the lifetime of the air purifier.


Energy Star certified freezers are at least 10% more energy efficient than freezers that only meet the federal minimum energy efficiency standard.

According to Energy Star, a certified chest freezer uses about 215 kWh of electricity and costs less than $30 per year to run. A certified upright freezer uses about 395 kWh of electricity and costs less than $50 per year to run.

Clothes Washers

Energy Star certified clothes washers use about 25% less energy and 33% less water than regular washers. This could save you $370 in energy costs over the lifetime of the product, based on 300 loads of laundry every year.

Clothes Dryers

Studies conducted by Energy Star show that if all clothes dryers sold in the United States were Energy Star certified, consumers would save more than $1.5 billion each year and greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced on the order of over two million vehicles.


Data from Energy Star indicates that an Energy Star certified dishwasher costs about $35 per year to run and could save you an average 3,870 gallons of water over its lifetime.


Energy Star says its certified refrigerators are about 9% more energy efficient than models that only meet the federal minimum energy efficiency standard. Based on this, you could save more than $200 over the typical 12-year lifetime of the product.

It’s clear that switching to Energy Star appliances are good for the environment and could save you a lot of money over the lifetime of your appliances.

Prices of Energy Star certified appliances will differ from brand to brand so it’s important to shop around for the best deals!

Energy-efficient appliances don’t qualify for a federal tax credit. However, you can get certain equipment tax credits for your primary residence. They apply to residential energy property costs and qualified energy efficiency improvements. Also, some local utility companies offer recycling programs that can help lower the upfront cost of new energy-efficient appliances.

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