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5. Purchase energy-efficient lighting, appliances and equipment.

Older equipment and appliances lose efficiency over time. For example, heating and air conditioning equipment purchased and installed 15 years ago may use twice the electricity of today’s energy efficient equipment. Many boards and administrations will avoid replacing heating and air conditioning equipment, saying the budget cannot support the cost. What they fail to take into consideration is that by replacing the old equipment with energy-efficient equipment, they will pay for the new equipment in a few years through energy savings.

The board should require a cost-benefit analysis on each energy-related purchase. Look for the Energy Guide label on appliances. The federal government requires appliance manufacturers to provide information about the energy efficiency of their products so consumers can consider the life cycle cost of the appliance as well as the purchase price. The life cycle cost of an appliance is the purchase price plus the operating cost over the projected life of the appliance. Energy Guide labels list the manufacturer, the model, the capacity, the features, the average amount of energy the appliance will use per year, the appliance’s comparison with similar models and the estimated yearly energy cost.

The energy efficiency ratings are given to heating and cooling equipment, refrigeration units and other types of equipment. The more energy efficient the equipment, the less the equipment will cost over time to operate, even if the equipment costs more to purchase. Some energy ratings are as follows: EER – Energy Efficiency Rating (room air conditioners); SEER – Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (central air conditioners); HSPF – Heating Season Performance Factor – with SEER (heat pumps); AFUE – Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (furnaces and boilers).

Additional Resources:

Below is a list of additional resources you may find helpful. Information in the documents and URLs listed below are not necessarily endorsed by this agency, only provided as a resource.

Energy Star Program
(U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)
Simple savings tools are provided that can help you make the most economical purchases for your facilities by providing an estimate of potential savings.

Federal Energy Management Program
Recommended efficiency levels, Federal supply sources, cost-effectiveness examples, and other buyer aids are provided for commonly purchased products.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Information to measure the energy performance of your organization.