Buying AppliancesThe purchase of new appliances and other items that use electricity can be costly. It is important to think carefully about your purchasing decisions so you can get the most of out of your appliances. Whether you’re moving to a new home, planning for an upgrade or replacing an old or failing piece of equipment, being in the market for these products is an opportunity to conserve energy and save money in the long run by buying an energy efficient product. Here is a list of Energy Star products.

Upgrading to ENERGY STAR Appliances

Energy Star LogoQualified energy efficient appliances may cost more upfront, but will deliver significant cost-savings over time through lower energy bills, a longer lifespan and reduced maintenance. To assist Virginians with these costs, the Commonwealth offers a three-day sales tax holiday allowing you to purchase, sales tax-free, qualifying ENERGY STAR products. In 2015, the holiday begins on the first Friday of August and ends the following Sunday. Look for the ENERGY STAR label on your new appliances to ensure you get the most energy-efficient models possible. Here are some helpful tips to know about your common house appliances and how much energy they use. A decades-old appliance may still be running, but it could be costing you a lot in waste.

Clothes Washers

An average American family washes about 400 loads of laundry every year, so an energy efficient washing machine can make a significant difference in your energy consumption and your energy bill. Some tips for smart shopping:

  • Front loaders use less water and less energy.
  • Think about the size that you and your family really need—too big and you’ll use more energy, too small and you may run more cycles than necessary.
  • Look for high speeds on the washer spin cycle—the less water held in the fabric of your clothes when they come out of the washer, the less time they need in the dryer, which reduces energy use.


Dishwashers made before 1994 cost you an estimated $40 each year, according to the U.S. EPA and Department of Energy. A newer model will save water and energy because it can run for shorter periods while effectively cleaning your dishes. Like the clothes washer, consider what size you really need for your home. It may seem easiest to purchase a standard large size washer, but selecting a smaller model will cost less — and may encourage you to wait longer between running the dishwasher. You can always take turns washing individual dishes and save the dishwasher for family gatherings or after entertaining.


  • Newer refrigerators use significantly less energy than older models.
  • According to ENERGY STAR, if you replace a fridge that was made in the 1980s with an ENERGY STAR qualified model today, you can save more than $100 a year on your energy bill.
  • You should also consider the following facts before making your purchase:
  • Top mounted freezers use 10-25 percent less energy than side or bottom mounted models.
  • Check for size — 16-20 cubic feet is the way to go.


Energy Saving Tips - Home (02 CFL money) Lighting is one of the cheapest and easiest things you can change to save energy. Switching to Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs) is an easy way to make your home more energy efficient. Since lighting uses about 20 percent of a home’s overall energy, CFLs can cut your energy use significantly. Consider that ENERGY STAR certified CFLs use up to 75 percent less electricity than incandescent bulbs! While CFLs may cost a bit more at the store than your old light bulbs, they will save about $30 over its lifetime and pay for itself in about 6 months. Many of your local stores also have CFL collection programs to help you properly dispose your CFL bulb when it needs to be replaced. You can also consider LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes). They are more costly than CFLs, but are much more efficient using only 2-10 watts of electricity, a tiny fraction of what incandescent or even CFLs use. Small LED flashlight bulbs will also extend battery life 10 to 15 times longer. Source: ENERGY STAR

Lesson Plans
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Get your students energized about responsible energy use! In partnership with the Virginia Department of Education, we’ve created fun, multi-day, Lesson plans to help you teach your students how to understand and conserve energy! They’re classroom-ready and free to use!