It’s Easy Being GREEN

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Inovative energy solutions can help save the planet and hundreds of dollars in energy bills.

ENERGY EFFICIENCYAre you afraid to open your monthly utility bill? Cutting energy costs is easy – just look for the Star. In 2005 alone, Americans saved enough energy to power nearly 22 million homes – that’s more than $12 billion in energy costs – and reduced greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those produced by 23 million cars using Energy Star appliances. Energy Star is a program created by the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy that helps businesses and individuals protect the environment through superior energy efficiency.

If every American home exchanged the five most used light bulbs with Energy Star qualified bulbs, one trillion pounds of greenhouse gases would be kept out of the air – that’s the equivalent of the annual emissions of 8 million cars – over the course of the bulbs’ lives. At the same time, such action would result in $6 billion in energy savings, or the annual output of more than 20 power plants.

GE Energy Smart Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs offer more than 50 lighting products that are Energy Star qualified. They use up to 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer. Energy Star-qualified dishwashers can save consumers $25 or more per year in energy costs than a dishwasher manufactured before 1994, according to the DOE. If all Americans used an Energy Star-qualified GE Profile dishwasher, the country would save more than 20 billion gallons of water annually – enough to fill more than 25,000 Olympic swimming pools.

The average family spends $1,900 a year on energy bills, nearly half of which goes to heating and cooling. Qualified air conditioners use at least 10 percent less energy than conventional models. On select models, an Energy Saver feature shuts down the compressor and fan once a room is cool enough.

Energy Star-qualified GE refrigerators use 40 percent less energy than conventional models sold in 2001 and about 50 percent less than models manufactured before 1993. Innovations like dual-evaporator technology improve energy efficiency and food freshness.

Energy Star-qualified clothes washer models like the new GE frontload washer use as little as 10 gallons of water for a small load and 15 gallons for an average-size load. Over the course of its life, this frontload washer will actually pay for itself in water and energy cost savings.

It’s also important to seal your doors and windows. According to the EPA, air leakage through tiny holes and cracks around windows and doors accounts for up to 20 percent of the energy used for cooling and heating. Allowing leaks to go unsealed means literally throwing energy – and money – out the window. Silicone sealant provides the best air and watertight seal. A typical home can be sealed with four tubes of high-quality sealant such as GE Silicone II, for example. A $20 investment can return hundreds of dollars in energy savings every year. For more energy saving tips, please visit www.energystar.gov and www.gelighting.com.

Materials courtesy General Electric, familyfeatures.com.