Below are (S)EER values for several common household products.
- Central Air Conditioners. SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) is the measure of efficiency. The higher the number the more energy efficient the unit is. When it comes to a central air conditioner, look for a unit with a SEER of 12 or more.
- Room Air Conditioners. EER (Energy efficiency rating) is the measure. Here again the higher the number the more energy efficient the unit is. However, an important consideration in choosing a room air conditioner (besides energy efficiency) is matching the size of the room with the size of the air conditioning unit. An undersized unit (no matter how energy efficient) will run constantly and use extra energy. As a gauge, a 9,000 British Thermal Unit (BTU) air conditioner will effectively cool an area of 350 to 400 square feet.
- Washing Machines. EF (energy factor) Indicates the number of complete cycles a washer will operate while using one kilowatt-hour of electricity. The current federal standard for energy efficient washers is an EF of 1.18, while Energy Star washers require an EF of 2.5.
- Dishwashers. EF (energy factor) once again is the unit of measurement, and indicates the number of complete cycles a dishwasher will complete while using one-kilowatt hour of electricity. Dishwashers that qualify for the Energy Star label have an EF of 0.52 or greater.
- Refrigerators and freezers. The label indicates the number of kilowatt-hours of electricity the appliance will use in one year of operation; the smaller the number, the more efficient the appliance.
Tips & Warnings
While important, energy efficiency is only one way to determine the correct appliance for your home. Also look for appliances sized correctly for your family and include energy saving features such as a washing machine with a cold water rinse option or a dishwasher with air drying rather than heated drying.
Energy efficient appliances can often pay for themselves in a short time based on their energy savings over older inefficient appliances.
According to the US Department of Energy, in 2006, Americans with the help of Energy Star conserved enough electricity to power 10 Million homes while saving $6 Billion.