Do greener appliances help you save electricity and water?
Saving energy and the environment: old vs. new appliances15th Jun 2022
There’s plenty of noise in the news about getting to ‘netzero’ by 2050. It’s effectively the world’s ambition to achieve a balance between the carbon emitted into the atmosphere and the carbon removed from it.
Achieving net zero is important because it will help to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions released into the atmosphere, which some believe is the biggest cause of global warming. But what can the humble household do to help the world achieve net zero? Well, there’s a lot we can do, in fact. According to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), residential electricity consumption (much of it from major home appliances) accounts for about a fifth of US energy-related greenhouse gas emissions.
Undoubtedly, appliances in South Africa are also to blame for a considerable amount of greenhouse gas emissions being released into the air. So, what can we do about it?
The first thing you should do is evaluate how much energy your appliances are using, especially in an environment where electricity prices are on the up. In February, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) approved Eskom’s applications for a 9.6% increase in electricity tariffs, which came into effect just last month.
The most energy-sapping appliances include geysers, air conditioners, refrigerators (which, according to Samsung, can sap around 4% of your total energy), washing machines and cooking appliances.
These are all vital appliances to have in the home. But if you want to help the environment, one thing to consider is replacing ones that are not very energy efficient. While this may be a huge outlay at first, you will inevitably save money in the end. This is because you will save on electricity – a huge cost in any household – even with load shedding.
Appliances to replace
Air conditioners can use a lot of electricity regardless of whether you use them for heating or cooling, so consider replacing your air conditioner if it’s really old. Samsung says its Wind-Free™ Air Conditioner features digital inverter boost technology, an energy-saving innovation that reduces the device’s energy consumption by up to 73%.
New refrigerators use up less energy too. Samsung’s spokesperson says: ‘Samsung’s digital inverter compressor stops or slows its operation when the cool air is not required as much, such as at night or in the winter, which means it significantly increases power efficiency.
The variable-speed refrigerating technology unique to the digital inverter can save compressor power consumption by up to 50%.’
Samsung is not the only company to offer inverter technology, of course. Competitor LG has also been investigating new ways to provide sustainable solutions, and its fridges, washing machines, dishwasher, air conditioners and microwaves are all equipped with the latest inverter technology.
Man vs. machine
Dishwashers can sap a lot of energy too. Find out what your current dishwasher’s rating is to verify if a new one could be more energy efficient.
Rajan Gungiah, Beko regional marketing director for sub-Saharan Africa, points out that a dishwasher with an A++ rating can save 11% in comparison to a dishwasher with an A+ rating.
While there are a lot of appliances that sap energy, doing things manually isn’t always the most efficient way to save on things like water. ‘Contrary to popular belief, using a dishwasher is more economical than washing dishes by hand. Using a dishwasher saves about 57 litres of water per load. Washing a load of dishes by hand uses about 66 litres of water, whereas the same amount being cleaned in a dishwasher uses only 9.5 litres,’ says Gungiah.
‘It is vital that appliance manufacturers commit to innovations that are eco-friendly, serving the environment, but also promoting healthy living and convenience for consumers at large.’
Evaluating energy efficiency
Replacing old for new is one way to reduce your reliance on the national grid. But how do you know whether your new item is as energy efficient as the salespeople claim?
One way to find out is to make use of the Standards and Labelling (S&L) programme implemented by the Department of Energy (DoE). Gungiah explains: ‘In 2018, the DoE made it easier for South Africans to identify eco-friendly appliances by updating their label criteria for this segment and by launching the Appliance Energy Calculator mobile app.
‘The app allows consumers to insert the price of the appliance and the annual electricity consumption rate of the appliance (this information can be found on the label), and the app will then work out the estimated running cost and the amount of power the appliance uses.’
Gungiah adds: ‘It is vital that appliance manufacturers commit to innovations that are eco-friendly, serving the environment, but also promoting healthy living and convenience for consumers at large.’
By replacing our outdated appliances – even if we only do it one at a time – we’re doing our bit to save the world.