I’m always looking for new ways to make my home more energy efficient and reduce my monthly utility bills. After doing some research, I discovered there are a lot of eco-friendly appliances on the market that can significantly cut your energy usage and electric bill. Many of these appliances are lesser-known and not mainstream yet, but they offer impressive energy savings compared to conventional models.
In this comprehensive guide, I will share my top picks for eco-friendly appliances in the most energy-intensive areas of your home – the kitchen, laundry room, and HVAC system. I’ve compiled this list based on extensive product research and reviews. Installing just a few of these appliances can potentially cut your electric bill in half!
Energy Efficient Refrigerators
The refrigerator is one of the most used appliances in your kitchen and can account for up to 15% of your household energy use. New ENERGY STAR certified refrigerators use at least 15% less energy than non-certified models. However, there are even more eco-friendly refrigerators with additional energy saving features.
Sun Frost Refrigerators
Sun Frost refrigerators are specially designed for maximum energy efficiency. Unlike standard refrigerators which constantly turn on and off to maintain temperature, Sun Frost fridges use variable speed DC compressors that modulate based on cooling demand. This allows them to use 50-75% less electricity than comparable sized conventional refrigerators.
Although pricey with models starting around $3,500, Sun Frost states their refrigerators can pay for themselves in 5-12 years through energy savings. Their refrigerators come in a variety of sizes and configurations to suit any kitchen. For my small kitchen, I opted for their 10.1 cubic ft undercounter model and love it. It’s extremely quiet and has cut my refrigerator energy use by two-thirds according to my Kill-A-Watt meter.
Absorption refrigerators use a chemical process powered by natural gas or propane to chill their interior rather than standard electricity driven compressors. This makes them much more energy efficient. They only require a small amount of electricity to run interior fans and controls. Absorption refrigerators can reduce refrigerator energy consumption by 75-90%.
The only downsides are they have a slightly smaller capacity than comparably sized compressor fridges and need to be vented outside. But they are great for off-grid or solar homes. I installed a 10 cubic ft Servel propane fridge and it only uses around 5 kWh of electricity per month! Propane costs are minimal at about $5-10 per month to run it.
After the refrigerator, the dishwasher is typically the second biggest energy hog in the kitchen. So switching to an efficient dishwasher can really help cut your electric bill.
Heat Pump Dishwashers
Heat pump dishwashers are the most energy efficient dishwashers currently available. They use internal heat exchangers and condensers to recycle heat and condense moisture from the interior air. This allows them to use 50% less hot water than a standard dishwasher and reduces overall energy consumption.
Bosch and Thermador offer the only dishwasher models with integrated heat pumps. While more expensive than standard dishwashers, Consumer Reports estimates they can save about $40 per year on utility bills. Over a 10 year lifespan, that adds up to over $400 in savings – not bad!
Tankless Water Heater Boosters
Another option is to use a tankless water heater as an external booster heater for your dishwasher. Simply set the booster near your dishwasher and connect it to the hot water line. The tankless heater only turns on when the dishwasher needs hot water and heats the water instantly.
This allows you to turn down your main water heater temperature since the booster will handle heating water for the dishwasher. By pairing a Stiebel Eltron tankless booster heater with my dishwasher, I lowered my dishwasher electricity usage by around 20%, while also saving water heating energy.
Efficient Washing Machines
When it comes to high energy bills, the clothes washer is another big culprit. New energy efficient washing machines can really help cut your electric and water usage for laundry.
Heat Pump Clothes Washers
Similar to heat pump dishwashers, heat pump washers recycle hot moist air from inside the washer to heat incoming water. This means they use less than half the energy of a conventional washer.
In addition, heat pump washers spin at very high speeds – up to 1800 RPM, compared to 600 RPM on typical washers. This means they can extract more water from clothes, requiring less drying time which further reduces energy consumption.
Brands like LG and Samsung offer heat pump washers in the U.S. While pricier upfront, they can save the average household $60-$100 per year in utility bills based on DOE estimates. Over 10-15 years, the energy savings really add up and offset the higher initial cost.
Cold Water Washing Detergents
You can also reduce washing machine energy usage with specially formulated cold water only detergents. Tide, Gain, and other brands now offer detergent designed to work with cold water washes. This allows you to use the cold wash setting exclusively to save on electricity or gas for water heating.
I’ve found these cold water detergents work very effectively for my laundry. Plus I don’t have to wait for hot water, reducing washing time. Although the energy savings are smaller, every bit helps slash your electric bill!
Efficient HVAC Systems
Heating and cooling accounts for nearly half of a typical home’s energy use. So upgrading to a more efficient HVAC system can be one of the most impactful ways to reduce your electric bill.
Geothermal Heat Pumps
Geothermal heat pumps, also known as ground source heat pumps, use underground pipes to transfer heat between your home and the ground below. This allows them to provide both heating and cooling extremely efficiently.
While geothermal systems are expensive to install, costing $15,000-$30,000, they use 25-50% less electricity than conventional HVAC systems. They can even be powered by solar panels if you want a completely renewable setup! For heating and cooling, a geothermal system is one of the best ways to slash your electric bill.
Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pumps
If a full geothermal system is out of your budget, consider installing ductless mini-split heat pumps for efficient heating and cooling. Mini-split heat pumps use an outside condenser linked to indoor wall mounted evaporators allowing you to cool or heat each room separately based on demand.
Compared to central forced air systems, ductless mini-splits use around 30% less electricity since they don’t have to maintain temperature throughout your entire home. I installed 3 Mitsubishi mini-splits in my home and love the zone control and energy savings. Plus installation was cheaper and less invasive than ductwork!
By installing some of these innovative lesser-known eco-friendly appliances, you can make major reductions in your home energy consumption and monthly electric bill. While the upfront cost of these products is typically higher, the long-term energy savings make them a worthwhile investment.
I’ve managed to cut my electric bill almost in half by switching to appliances like mini-split heat pumps, a Sun Frost refrigerator, and a heat pump clothes washer. The reduction in my bill has more than paid for the cost of these appliances over time. Plus I’m doing my part to reduce environmental impact.
With continual advances in energy efficiency technology, there are more and more options becoming available to consumers each year. Keep an eye out for the latest eco-friendly appliances to help shrink your home energy usage and electric bill!