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United Cooperative Services News

Beating the Tax Man With Energy Efficiency

EnergyStar® sales tax holiday is right around the corner

Shoppers, start your engines.

While many consumers in Texas know to take advantage of shopping the tax-free weekend for back-to-school shopping, not many realize there’s another shopping holiday that can save them from paying sales tax as well as lower energy usage and utility bills at the same time.

The EnergyStar® Sales Tax Holiday will again be during Memorial Day weekend, and this year’s sale will begin right at 12:01 a.m. on May 27th and continue until 11:59 p.m. on the 29th.

Lighting and appliances can account for up to a quarter of a home’s energy consumption in a typical residence. Most every appliance consumes energy, but trading up on newer ones that use less energy to execute the same amount of work can make an impact on energy usage. The sales tax holiday may be a great opportunity for consumers to save on purchases and save energy dollars through the more efficient appliance.

EnergyStar®-rated appliances do the same work in a more efficient manner. The EnergyStar® program was created in 1992 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA later partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to create a joint effort of energy efficiency through the EnergyStar® program. The program seeks to assist consumers in saving money and energy while protecting the environment through energy efficient products and procedures.

Qualifying products will display the EnergyStar® insignia, which will usually appear on the appliance itself or the packaging. Earning an EnergyStar® rating means a product meets stringent energy efficient standards set by the EPA and the DOE.

When comparing appliances, consumers should look at the Energy Guide label. All EnergyStar® -rated appliances must have a yellow Energy Guide label, said Seth Rosser, United’s Energy Solutions Manager.

“The energy guide label allows the consumer to compare apples to apples when it comes to appliances,” Rosser said. “And the consumer can view the estimated yearly energy use to compare which appliance is going to be more efficient.”

Appliances with a yellow energy guide label have been tested and verified by measures set forth by the DOE to attest the energy use of these products. Once the product has been tested and issued a label, manufacturers are required to display this information on their product. The Energy Guide label estimates the kilowatt-hour usage over a year’s time, and the estimated yearly operating cost based on a generic price per kilowatt hour.

The EnergyStar® products qualifying for the 2017 tax exemption are air conditioners priced at $6,000 or below; refrigerators priced at $2,000 or below; ceiling fans; incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs; clothes washers; dishwashers and dehumidifiers.

Clothes washers are one of the most significant appliances for conserving resources listed as qualifying for the EnergyStar® sales tax holiday, according to energystar.gov. These rated clothes washers also have shown to save up to about 3,000 gallons of water per year, as well as energy.

“On average, a new EnergyStar®- certified clothes washer uses 280 kilowatt hours of electricity and can save about $45 a year on utility bills compared to a standard model,” one report notes. Another qualifying product that saves energy and water is an EnergyStar®-rated dishwasher. According to energystar.gov, if your dishwasher was manufactured before 1994, going to a new EnergyStar®-rated dishwasher could save you $35 a year on your electric bill and 10 gallons of water per cycle.

Refrigeration is estimated to account for about three percent of energy consumption in a typical residence, and swapping a unit that is 10 years or older for an EnergyStar®-rated refrigerator can amount to valuable savings.

“By properly recycling your old refrigerator and replacing it with a new Energy Star®-certified refrigerator, you can save more than $270 over the next 5 years,” according to energystar.gov.

These statistics show the difference EnergyStar®-rated appliances can make in a home’s overall energy consumption. For more information on EnergyStar®-rated appliances, please visit energystar.gov.

All EnergyStar® rated appliances are listed on their website, along with valuable information on how they consume less energy. For more information regarding the EnergyStar® Sales Tax Holiday, please visit https://comptroller.texas.gov/taxes/publications/96-1331.php.

For other savings opportunities, members should contact their local United office to schedule a free home energy audit. United’s team of energy experts are well versed in United’s energy savings portfolio. From savings on HVAC filters through filterchange.coop, to United’s robust rebate program, there are savings opportunities for everyone.