Mother Earth Living

Wiser Living

Finding a natural solution

Add to My MSN

Buying Appliances for a LEED-Certified Home

1/20/2010 9:33:56 AM

Tags: green building materials, LEED, green home, building a green home, sustainable architecture, tennessee, appliances, energy-efficient appliances, energy star appliances, energy star, energy star ratings, kitchen

The only kitchen appliance we brought from our old home is the microwave oven. We’d hoped to find someone in a department store who was knowledgeable and motivated to put together an energy-efficient appliance package with a price tag we liked. We found that while some salespeople knew where to look for the yellow Energy Guide tags that list the kilowatt hours used by an appliance in a year, most wanted to focus on which was the least expensive or the “most popular” version of something, such as refrigerators with French doors. 

We found helpful information on the Internet about the Energy Star rating program the EPA implemented in 1992. The Energy Star program encourages manufacturers to voluntarily create appliances with reduced water and energy use, and now consumers like us can compare appliances on these factors. In addition to energy efficiency, we had to consider the way our architect designed our kitchen, our budget and what was available in local stores. My husband also checked out consumer ratings of appliances, which, combined with Energy Star ratings, helped us generate a list of our top choices.

wiring LEED-home for appliances
My new kitchen is coming together. We're getting the wiring together and making progress. Photo Courtesy Rebecca Selove.

Through our builders we met Matt at the local Cenwood Appliance store. He was savvy about energy efficiency and taught us more about cooktops than I knew existed. I’ve never lived where a cooktop was separate from the oven. I learned about fixed and telescopic downdrafts and induction cook tops (not worth their cost to us). I also learned that energy efficiency in a cooktop is due in part to a good match in size of the burner and size of the bottom of the pan it heats. I came home and measured the bottoms of my favorite pans and learned that the largest are 9 inches in diameter. This meant we didn’t want a cook top with a 12-inch burner. 

We left our first meeting with Matt feeling pretty good about our decisions, but with a question still on the table about the oven. I had used a convection oven in a cohousing comunity where we used to live, and appreciated its ability to help me get dinner ready on time even when I started late. The Energy Star convection oven cost about $200 more than a standard oven, and from the American Council on Energy Efficiency, a nonprofit organization that provides education and advocacy related to energy efficiency, I learned that the convection oven is generally 20 percent more efficient than the conventional oven. We settled on a GE Profile 30-inch downdraft electric cook top and a GE 30-inch single oven with convection.

I'm looking forward to cooking in the completed kitchen.



Related Content

Mom and Son in a 650-Square-Foot Homesteader's Cabin: The Perfect Amount of Space

Victoria Gazeley considers her revitalized 650-square-foot homesteader’s cabin, located on 7 acres o...

Cambridge Energy Alliance

Sustainability starts at home—but it sure does help to have community backing. Natural Home magazine...

Energy Star Power Fades

Looser standards and self-certification have led to a market flooded with Energy Star appliances—man...

The Winter of Our Content

Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence looks forward to good, green building news for 20...

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 



Subscribe today and save 58%

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living!

Welcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.