Upgrading major appliances like a fridge, range or washer/dryer could set you back thousands of dollars, which is why most of us don’t replace those items until we absolutely have to. When we do, we face a tough choice – go with a highly rated yet cheaper, inefficient model or invest more for an energy-efficient product.
Your wallet may be screaming “cheaper” but you could actually save more money over time with the energy-efficient model. For example, if you upgrade to an Energy Star refrigerator not only will it have more bells and whistles but, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, it can save you more than $54 per year or more than $270 over the next five years and reduce your carbon footprint by 3,600 pounds. That’s about the same as eliminating 4,000 miles of driving in one year.
You can do even more by recycling your old fridge because keeping old foam and refrigerant from getting into the environment can save an extra 10,000 pounds of carbon pollution. That’s the same amount of carbon produced by charging nearly 580,000 cell phones! Want to know exactly how much you’ll save? Use the Energy Star Flip Your Fridge calculator.
A Clean Energy Future
Later this year, if PSE&G’s landmark Clean Energy Future filing before the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities is approved, you’ll get even more rebates and incentives to meet the upfront cost gap.
The CEF Energy Efficiency proposal has 22 programs to benefit you and your community, including seven designed specifically for residential customers and a “smart home” pilot program. These proposals will save you money on the cost of energy-efficient products and even allow you to pay for products over time on your monthly PSE&G bill — at no interest. This would make it possible to buy energy-efficient products with little to no upfront costs.
The proposals also will make it easy to find qualified professionals to install or repair items for energy efficiency, and income-eligible families could get many of these services and products for free. Even if you don’t have a clue where to start or if you just don’t have the time, you’ll be able to take advantage of either self-serve or expert-conducted energy audits with recommendations.
PSE&G’s proposal also includes Energy Cloud, a plan to install smart meters — a valuable tool that will give you real-time information about your energy usage. If approved, smart meters can help you figure out how you’re spending your energy dollars and where there could be energy efficiency savings.
Creating a Home Plan
Now is a good time to start thinking about energy efficiency savings by looking broadly at your home and what you may need. Whether you decide to focus on one or two products or go for a completely smart home, PSE&G plans to be there to help.
Some people think having an energy-efficient home requires renewables like solar, electric vehicles and battery storage. While the CEF proposals also incorporate these clean resources, you can start smaller by doing things like changing out your lightbulbs and using advanced power strips.
If your home is drafty, you might be cranking up the heat or wearing a sweater. Why not budget a small amount of money to caulk and/or weather strip doors and windows, and add a door sweep? The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that just sealing air leaks can save 10 to 20 percent on annual heating and cooling bills, or an average of $83 to $166 per year. It also estimates that Americans could save on average about $700 to $1,200 annually by creating energy-efficient homes.
If you’re ready to tackle a bit more, we recommend starting with an energy audit. For this process, you have the option to enter information online about your home and electric and gas use, or to schedule a visit from a professional to evaluate savings potential in your home. You then receive customized recommendations for the best ways to start your energy savings.
It may seem strange that an energy company wants you to use less of the product it sells. At PSE&G, we care about the people and communities we serve and we care about the environment. Energy efficiency provides the same climate benefits as renewables but at a fraction of the cost.