If you’ve been keeping up with sustainable living, then you know that one of the most highly-preached solutions is to upgrade your appliances. But take one look at those price tags, and it’ll have you wondering: is there really a difference between old and new appliances?
It’s more about sustainability than cost savings in the short-term
We’ll start out the discussion with this statement: you need to figure out whether sustainability or cost savings are more important to you. Upgrading appliances may save you a few hundred dollars every few years, but the primary difference is the effect on pollution! Consider this example:
- Compared to a 15-year-old refrigerator, a new ENERGY STAR-certified refrigerator reduces its carbon footprint by 7,900 pounds in five years (cuts energy use in half!). But how much do you save with ENERGY STAR appliances? It may only save you around $300 in that five-year span.
Older appliances double the water use
A primary difference between old and new appliances is the water waste. In fact, an older washing machine or dishwasher uses about double the amount of water. But if your household is constantly washing clothes or dishes, then a new appliance is 100% worth the investment… don’t forget that the time you run appliances also affects your cost.
Educate yourself on which appliances do the most damage
Luckily, you don’t need to purchase all new appliances to make a difference! Educate yourself on which appliances make the most difference, and start there. For example, we guarantee that a 1980s-era HVAC system is driving up your energy bill much more than you expect. And most likely, it’s not doing much for the environment either! To make a direct impact, start with a project of this size rather than upgrading a smaller appliance, such as your dyer.
Focus on maintenance if you can’t yet afford new appliances
If you don’t have the budget right now, focus on maintenance. Cleaning out appliances, such as the filters and screens, can make a world of a difference. As a cheat sheet, Life Hacker lists a few ways that maintenance can achieve some of the same sustainability goals.