Energy Efficiency Regulations for Appliances Help Solar Feasibility 0

The most important principle for designing a home with a solar power system is very aptly stated by Richard Perez, editor of Home Power magazine: “Every watt not used is a watt that doesn’t have to be produced, processed, or stored.”  This is a concept that is seldom considered by homeowners using grid power, but is essential for anyone who wants to live in an off-grid home.

Energy efficiency is the best way to make the system more cost effective, but this does not mean doing without the cust
omary appliances and conveniences. Many of the major appliances that we commonly use have become much more energy efficient over the last two decades as both government and consumers became more aware of the importance of energy efficient appliances.One of the developments that has made solar power feasible is the introduction of the 1992 Energy Efficiency Act. The Energy Efficiency Regulations ensure that new appliances imported into Canada, or manufactured in Canada comply with federal minimum energy performance standards (MEPS).A study was done by the Office of Energy Efficiency to assess the energy savings as a result of the MEPS between 1992 and 2001. Their findings showed an impressive energy saving. “Since the energy saved in any given year accrues over time, cumulative energy savings grew steadily between 1992 and 2001. They reached a total savings of 14.02 PJ in 2001, the equivalent of a year’s energy for about 126 000 Canadian households.”The Energy Use Data Handbook, published by the government of Canada, lists the energy usage of various major appliances from 1990 to 2003. As shown below, the improvements are dramatic.

Residential Appliance Unit Energy Consumption (UEC)

 UEC (1) for new electric appliances (kWh/year) 1990 2003 Total Growth
Refrigerator 956 487 -49.1%
Freezer 714 369 -48.3%
Dishwasher (2) 101 52 -48.9%
Clothes Washer (2) 97 57 -41.8%
Clothes Dryer 1,103 914 -17.1%
Range 772 718 -7.0%

(1) Unit energy consumption is based on rated efficiency.

(2) Excludes hot water requirements.

Not only have improvements been made in the efficiency of appliances produced, but sales of major appliances also show that consumers are buying more energy efficient appliances. For example, figure 2.5 shows how improvements in energy efficiency have affected the energy consumption of refrigerators purchased in Canada. In 1990 there were no refrigerators sold with a consumption of less that 30 kWh/cu. ft./yr but in 2001 these accounted for 44.5% of all refrigerators sold.

Energy Consumption of Refrigerators

Energy Consumption of Refrigerators

Energy Consumption of Refrigerators

The drive for energy efficiency has also been proceeding in other areas. The development of the compact fluorescent light bulb was a major step forward, since incandescent lighting was notorious for high energy usage. Now, LED lighting is making strides in reliability, brightness and affordability at a much lower power rating. The same light output can now be achieved for about one tenth of the power needed for incandescent lighting.

(Visited 382 times, 1 visits today)