Green Appliance Use

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Fact: The average home is a bigger pollutant than an average car. This is because most power plants run on coal and natural gas. Household appliances and electronics contribute to this in no small way. And though right now we can’t imagine living life without our electronic “creature comforts,” there are ways for us to use them more responsibly.

If you are not yet ready to let go of your old appliances and go for more energy efficient ones –

• Use them in more eco-friendly ways. For instance, when laundering your clothes, do not use hot water unless the clothes are remarkably soiled; use cold or warm water instead, and always rinse in cold water. For those with allergies though, you may want continue washing sheets in hot water. Research show that washing in hot water is more effective at counteracting dust mites and pet dander.

• For your fridge, make sure to not overcool it. You can use a thermometer to check your refrigerator’s settings. The fridge should rest between 37 to 40 degrees. The freezer should be between 0 and 5 degrees.

• When doing the dishes, scrape but don’t rinse the dishes before you load them into the dishwasher. If you’re not running it right away, rinse briefly with cool water.

• For your home computer, set it into “sleep” mode after going idle for brief period of time, rather than relying on a screen saver which still uses a lot of power.

Before you replace a product, inspect them to make sure they are working properly. A lot of times, a poorly functioning fridge or leaky dishwasher just needs a new door gasket. But if you are willing to exchange your old appliances with more energy efficient ones:

• Go for Energy Star-rated ones. Products earn the Energy Star label by meeting the energy efficiency requirements set forth in Energy Star product specifications. These specifications are established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) based on a set of guiding principles. True, Energy Star-rated cost more upfront, but in the long run, they will yield big savings in electricity and water.

• If you had to choose one appliance to let go of, choose your refrigerator. Refrigerators are on all the time so why not choose one that can cut your electricity use by as much as 50 percent. Models with freezers on the bottom or top are more efficient than side-by-side models. This is because certain features like automatic icemakers and through-the-door ice and water dispenser increase energy consumption.

• If you are looking to replace you washing machine, opt for front-loading washers. Not only are they more efficient, they also use as much as 50 percent less water (which could also translate to less detergent and laundry products.)

• You might also want to consider replacing your desktop with a laptop since the run on one-third of the electricity.

If you already own efficient appliances, lessen your energy consumption even more by doing the following:

• Machine wash outer layer clothes like jeans and sweatshirts only when they are really dirty. Whenever possible, line dry your laundry. If this practice makes your towels and jeans stiff, set your dryer to air fluff and put them in for only a few minutes.

• Open your dishwasher door before the dry cycle starts to allow your dishes to air dry. If you are worried about water spots on glass ware, dry them with a dish towel.

• When cooking or reheating small meals, use a toaster oven instead of you full-size oven.

• Inspect your house for energy “vampires.” These include hair dryers, cell phone and MP3 chargers. Even when not in uses, the external power supplies of these products continue to consume electricity. Do not forget to unplug these items; or you can use a power strip and switch off the entire thing whenever possible. Remember to unplug small appliances when not in use. is a sustainability solutions provider for any business that aims to improve profit through a greener and more eco-friendly methods. For more details on how to maintain sustainability at home or at the work place, check out

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