Whirlpool French door fridge in kitchen

Appliances can be some of the biggest energy hogs in the home. But opting for Energy Star appliances for your next upgrade can make a massive difference. They run more efficiently, which not only saves energy, but also saves you money on electricity costs. The benefits of having an energy efficient appliance, backed by the Energy Star certification, run even deeper than that.

Energy Star logoWhat are Energy Star appliances?

Energy Star is a recognized as a trusted label on appliances. It confirms they have been evaluated and tested to meet strict requirements for energy efficiency. The requirements are set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and certifications are performed by a third-party entity. Products that meet the requirements to receive an Energy Star label are also subject to ongoing verification testing to ensure they still meet the qualifications. They are confirmed to work as well, if not better, than non-Energy Star-products: there’s no sacrifice in performance.

The verification process differs depending on the type of product. A refrigerator, for example, has to be at least 15 percent more efficient than the minimum standard to meet the qualification. Energy Star light bulbs have to use two-thirds less energy than a standard incandescent one.

Insignia washing machine with Energy Star labelAny appliance that meets the Energy Star requirements and has gone through the certification process will have an Energy Star label on it to indicate as such. The seller, like the Best Buy website and stores, will also note this in the descriptions. The label consists of the word “energy” written in cursive with a white star on a blue background. The words “Energy Star” are typically written in block letters underneath the square sticker as well.

In addition, each year, Energy Star awards a Most Efficient designation to a small selection of products. These rank among the top energy performers in their respective categories.

Why should you switch to Energy Star appliances?

According to Natural Resources Canada, household appliances account for up to 14.4% of the energy you use in the average home in Canada. That’s behind only space heating and water heating. There are tons of benefits to switching to Energy Star appliances, even beyond the most obvious ones.

Maytag dishwasherSave money

If you have been seeing your utility bills rise, beyond overall rising costs, an energy hogging appliance or two could have something to do with it. Switching to an energy efficient appliance, particularly one that meets the Energy Star requirements, can help you lower your energy bills.

It stands to reason that if appliances are using less energy, your total count at the end of the month or billing period will be less. It’s the same principle as if you keep lights turned off or down low when no one is in the room, or don’t run entertainment devices like speakers and TVs as often.

Some provinces and cities also offer tax credits and other incentives when you use energy efficient appliances within the home. Look into this and, depending on where you live, switching could see you get a rebate, tax credit, discount, or money back in some form.

Samsung washer and dryerReduce energy usage

As an environmental benefit, you’ll use less energy overall with an energy efficient appliance. By definition, they run more efficiently.

An energy efficient refrigerator doesn’t have to work as hard to keep your food cold or frozen while a dishwasher or washing machine can do things like sense how soiled items are and adjust the water levels. Some even have specific cycles to ensure they’re making the most efficient use of resources, like water.

With a dryer, some energy efficient models have features like the ability to dry for longer at a lower heat. With quick dries you don’t have to run a cycle at high heat in order to get your clothing sufficiently dry.

GE fridgeAn energy efficient air purifier, meanwhile, can intelligently sense the air quality in the home and run only when it needs to versus all the time.

Keep food fresher, longer

An energy efficient appliance like your refrigerator doesn’t have to run into overdrive to keep food sufficiently cool. This can happen if you leave the door open for a long time while loading groceries, for example. The fridge then has to compensate once you close the door. Energy efficiency means it can go from cooler to cold quickly without using as much energy. Your food, in turn, stays fresher, longer. LG has a feature in some of its energy efficient refrigerators, for example, called LG Door Cooling. It maintains a fixed temperature, quickly cooling the fridge after the door is closed.

What types of Energy Star appliances can you buy?

There are 75 types of Energy Star product categories in all and more than 80 types of products that are eligible for Energy Star certification in Canada. Many of these fall into the realm of appliances. These include refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, air conditioners, air purifiers, and others, all available at Best Buy.

LG Cooling Plus technologyAdditional features you might find in energy efficient appliances

Energy efficient refrigerators that have the Energy Star logo consume less power overall, as noted. They often also include other features that contribute to energy efficiency, like dual-controlled crispers that help keep fruits and vegetables at the optimal temperature so they don’t spoil as quickly. Door-in-door designs also have an energy efficiency benefit since you don’t need to open the main interior to get frequently accessed items like milk, juice, and condiments. The same goes for fridges that have a fifth middle drawer that can house items you often grab for, like deli meats and cheese.

Samsung Bespoke door in door fridgeWhen it comes to energy efficient washers and dryers, they have additional features that contribute to energy efficiency, too. Dryers have features like intelligent shut-off once it senses the clothing is dry instead of continuing to run until the timer is done. Washing machines, meanwhile, have special eco-friendly settings, like cold water wash and using less water for small loads. Dishwashers similarly have eco modes that can use cooler temperature water when needed, like if you’re only washing glasses on the top rack.

You can get energy efficient small appliances, too. These will not feature the Energy Star label and certification, but, just by using certain small appliances, you can reduce your energy usage in the home. Heating up food in a toaster oven or Instant Pot, for example, will use less energy than pre-heating and running the oven for just a single-serving meal. (Which can also heat the home more, causing you to crank the air conditioning in the summer.)

It’s time to go Energy Star

Frigidaire fridge

Once you’re ready to invest in energy efficient appliances, take a look at the energy efficient smart home buying guide. It contains useful tips on energy efficient appliances, including smart ones as well. Plus, we walk you through other tech gadgets you can use around the home to help improve energy efficiency as well.

Check out plenty of Energy Star rated appliances at Best Buy Online. 

I am a tech expert and journalist with 17+ years of experience in trade and consumer tech journalism. I write for a number of technology, business, parenting, family, and lifestyle Websites, blogs, and magazines. A self-professed lover of tech, I'm also a passionate foodie who loves to cook and bake, a TV junkie, and proud mother to an 8-year-old son.


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