29 Sep 2011

How much energy do YOU use brewing a pot of coffee and toasting 6 slices of bread?

Written by Jim Pierobon

Now before you reply ‘it’s not enough energy to care,’ consider this: Up until now there was no way to gauge how much electricity a small appliance uses over an average 5- year lifespan.

Enter Savenia Labs of Bethesda, Maryland, just north of Washington, DC. Long overlooked because of their relatively modest energy consumption, toaster/convection ovens, coffee makers and microwave ovens are among the small appliances Savenia Labs has tested and rated in conjunction with University of Maryland.

Company founder and President John Jabara is busy this week launching the rating system in Strosniders Hardware stores in Bethesda and nearby Silver Spring, MD. He envisions taking his energy ratings system nationwide as soon as his finances permit it.

Let’s test your small appliance energy IQ: How much electricity does each of these appliances use assuming they are used every day for the purposes described:

Small appliances are getting an energy rating system with this label from Savenia Labs of Bethesda, MD, USA

$99.99 Cuisinart Programmable DC 1200 coffee maker – brewing one 12-cup pot of coffee, every day for five years. Answer: $58

$89.99 Cuisinart 6-slice toaster oven broiler TOB840 – 22  minutes of use every day for five years. Answer: $72

Jabara said upon returning to the U.S. after living abroad, he discovered there was no system for rating appliances’ energy efficiency. He wanted to change that.

He set up a lab in conjunction with the University of Maryland in College Park and tested appliances he purchased based on research about how consumers used them in their daily lives.

Results are scored in comparison to the best product in each category using a 100-point scale. The best performing product in the category on a particular data point receives 100 points.

Not surprisingly, more expensive but comparable appliances used less electricity. But that wasn’t and isn’t always the case. Watch and listen here how Jabara compares the purchase price and electricity costs of two coffee makers.

Upon learning of the new rating system, two shoppers in the Silver Spring Strosniders today opined the rating system seems to be a solution in search of a problem. That may be the case for some shoppers. But the more costly electricity becomes, especially during peak time periods, the Savenia Labs offering is likely to make a difference for a growing number of consumers.

Among the questions now: Will retailers respond and start showcasing their products’ energy costs the way automobile and refrigerator manufacturers do? Stay tuned.



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