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ELITE GREEN RANKINGS


Introducing the green version of Consumer Reports: TopTen USA, (www.toptenusa.org). It’s the U.S. counterpart to a similar program in Europe. Run by a non-profit, the group’s Web site offers key information about independently tested and rated energy-efficient appliances and electronics, including refrigerators, freezers, televisions, computers, vehicles, dishwashers, clothes washers, and monitors.


Ranking the 10 most efficient products in several categories, TopTen is endorsed by the World Wildlife Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council. The listing includes pricing, specifications, local and online retail options, and personalized rebate information to assist the energy-efficiency seeking consumer.


“TopTen USA provides consumers with a simple, bulletproof way to find the most truly efficient household products,” says NDRC Senior Scientist Noah Horowitz.


TopTen researchers claim that if homeowners were to simply replace equipment near the end of its 6- to 12- year lifespan with baseline Energy Star products, they would reduce their utility bills by 37%. However, by choosing one of the TopTen products, those savings jump to 67%.


 


MAYTAG
Models
MHW6000XW,
MHW7000X
This Maytag front-loading clothes washer/dryer suite is listed as the most efficient large clothes driver on the TopTen ranking site.


WHIRLPOOL
Model
W9RXXMFW*0*  
Ranked second in TopTen’s large refrigerator category is this offering from Whirlpool, calculated to use 27.8 fewer kWh per year, as compared to conventional products.


 


CONSERVATION THROUGH INFORMATION
An innovative online tool called the Power Scorecard (www.powerscorecard.org) produced by Pace University breaks down utility power choices in different regions and provides consumers with a renewable energy rating. It also gives them overall environmental impact ratings and kWh rates, along with practical suggestions for reducing residential energy use. For example, it suggests that they:


> Insulate walls and ceilings for savings of between 20% to 30% with home heating bills.
> Modernize windows.
> Plant shade trees and paint the house a light color in warm climates to prevent solar heat gain.
> Weatherize using caulk and weather stripping to plug air leaks around doors and windows.
> Set the refrigerator to a slightly higher temperature, Refrigerators account for about 20% of household electricity use.
> Set the clothes washer to the warm or cold water setting, but not hot.
> Make sure your dishwasher is full when you run it and use the energy-saving setting, if available, to allow the dishes to air dry.
> Turn down the water heater thermostat. Thermostats are often set to 140°F, when 120°F is usually sufficient.
> Select the most energy-efficient models with Energy Star labels when it’s time to replace old appliances.
> Clean or replace air filters as recommended. Cleaning a dirty air conditioner filter can save 5% of the energy used.
> Buy energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs for the home’s most-used lights. Although first cost is more, they use just a quarter of the energy drawn by incandescent bulbs and last 8-12 times longer.
> Install low-flow water fixtures.


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