Market Snapshot: Major household appliances now significantly more energy efficient

Release date: 2016-11-02

Major household appliances account for approximately 40% of the energy used in a typical Canadian home. Over the past 15 years, the combined unit energy consumption (UEC) of these appliances has notably decreased. A household operating an average set of major household appliances purchased in 2014 could expect an UEC of 2 700 kilowatt hours (kW.h) per year – a savings of 35% compared to a set of appliances purchased in 2000.

With a 75% drop in UEC, clothes washers experienced the greatest efficiency gains over this 15 year timeframe. Dishwashers, electric ranges, and freezers experienced more modest efficiency improvements. Electric clothes dryers, the largest energy consumers among appliances, slightly increased in UEC between 2000 and 2014, primarily due to the use of larger capacity dryers.

Source and Description

Source: Natural Resources Canada Office of Energy Efficiency

Description: This stacked area graph illustrates average annual UEC for major household appliances from 2000 to 2014. Major household appliance energy use declined from an average 4 176 kW.h per year in 2000 to 2 713 kW.h per year. The annual UEC for clothes washers declined the greatest amount, from 838 kW.h in 2000 to 205 kW.h in 2014, while the annual UEC for refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, and electric ranges decreased steadily over this time period. The annual UEC for electric clothes dryers actually increased from 910 kW.h in 2000 to 924 kW.h in 2014.

Improved UEC results in lower appliance operating costs. Comparing models from 2000 and 2014 using 2016 electricity rates, households could save between $64 and $215 per year by operating 2014 appliances instead of appliances from 2000.Footnote 1 Some local energy providers also offer incentives towards the purchase of energy efficient appliances. As a result, compared to upgrading insulation, windows, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, switching to more energy efficient appliances is one of the simplest and lowest cost methods of lowering household energy use and expenses.

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