If you haven't already heard of TopTen, check out this website: (http://www.toptenusa.org)/. It is a great way for deep energy projects to identify the best equipment that is available on the market .
TopTen USA makes it easy for consumers to find the most energy efficient products. It was modeled after a successful European initiative - and hopefully will serve as a catalyst to stimulate even better products being available in the US market.
Chime in with your experience -
Last month, the U.S. EPA and U.S. DOE announced an extension of the ENERGY STAR program which will recognize the most energy-efficiency products. The ENERGY STAR “Most Efficient” pilot will ID those models that are in the top 5% for efficiency in their categories.
Products are listed by category. So far the website has listings for clothes washers, refrigerators, TVs, and central air conditioning/air source heat pumps. Information provided includes approximate purchase price, (except HVAC), kWh/year, annual operating cost, lifetime cost to operate. Assumptions regarding energy use, energy cost, and hours of operation or loads of wash per week are provided for the TV and clothes washer pages. A photo, brand, and model number, specifications, retail price, and features are listed for each product. I found the clothes washer and television sections very useful with a large variety of products in terms of features and purchase price. Some TVs featured use as little as 23 kWh per year, assuming 5 hours of operation per day. The largest and highest priced TV only used 125 kWh per year. The clothes washers were closer in annual electricity use – nearly all ~100 kWh per year for 7.5 loads of wash per week; the purchase price varied 3 to 1.
The refrigerator section does not appear to be complete, only 2 refrigerators are included – both at a cost of over $1,000. Not helpful at all for most of us.
The central air conditioning and air source heat pump category is not as useful as it could be. A person could easily purchase the most efficient unit shown, but have no awareness that inadequate design, installation, and operation of the distribution system and blower could defeat the benefits of more efficient equipment. What is great are the relatively low energy cost and annual energy use (national average) for the equipment shown. That could be a wake-up call for folks who do not have a clue about how little energy an efficient home uses for space conditioning.
I find that this site is much more useful than just following the Energy Star brand for TVs and clothes washers. I hope this will be greatly expanded in the near future.
Danny Parker, Florida Solar Energy Center, asked us to post this:
A major development:
As of September 2011, televisions receiving the ES label must demonstrate 40% lower energy use than standard models (!). Example EPA gives is for a 60" flat screen TV, the power would go from 282 Watts on to 108 Watts.
Even more importantly, qualifying cable and satellite boxes will receive Energy Star labels which will require that their consumption drop from 16 Watts when not in use to only 2 Watts. These things are true vampires, so good riddance.
Given the push, they expect a 70% market share of such products within one year. Major victory for consumers.Danny
"I hope this will be greatly expanded in the near future."
Expanded in the future is much more likely, as Energy Star Most Efficient arrived just in time to make entities wonder which to endorse/apply. The near future has room for both. Only time will tell the rest of the story.