Key Facts in Promoting EnerGuide and

Dollar Savings

You can show your customers how much it costs to run an appliance by calculating the cost of operating it for one year and over its lifetime.

rating (kWh)
x local electricity
cost ($/kWh)
= Yearly
energy cost

For example, the yearly energy cost of a Type 3, top-mounted, 15.5-cu.-ft. refrigerator-freezer with an EnerGuide rating of 555 kWh and a local electricity cost of $0.08/kWh would be 555 kWh x $0.08/kWh = $44.40

555 kWh x $0.08/kWh = $44.40

What is a kilowatt hour? The electricity you use is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh). One kWh is the amount of electrical energy supplied by one kilowatt over a one-hour period.

One kWh is equivalent to

  • using a 100-watt light bulb for 10 hours; or
  • running a hot shower for about three minutes.
Lifetime expectancy of major electrical appliances (in years)
Freezers 21
Ranges 18
Clothes Dryers 18
Refrigerators 17
Clothes Washers 14
Dishwashers 13

Note: These numbers are industry averages only.

Lifetime Energy Cost

Lifetime energy cost equals the yearly energy cost multiplied by the average expected years of use for the appliance. For example, the lifetime energy cost of the refrigerator-freezer used in the previous example would be

$44.40 x 17 years = $754.80

Compare buying a new ENERGY STAR qualified appliance with a non-qualified appliance.

Example: One

Look at how much money your customers could save if they bought a front-loading clothes washer with a capacity of 3.2 cu. ft. (89.2 L) carrying the ENERGY STAR symbol, instead of a non-qualified top-loading clothes washer with the same capacity.

  Non-qualified top-loading model ENERGY STAR qualified front-loading model
Annual energy consumption 876 kWh 275 kWh
Annual energy cost 876 x 0.08 = $70 275 x 0.08 = $22
Lifetime energy cost $70 x 14 = $980 $22 x 14 = $308

If your customers buy the ENERGY STAR qualified clothes washer, the savings over its lifetime = $672.

Did you know?

The EnerGuide rating is based on tests that try to replicate average use as closely as possible. However, energy consumption is always unique to the individual household. Some studies have shown the numbers on the EnerGuide label to be accurate within approximately plus or minus 10 percent for most users.

Compare the average annual energy consumption of existing appliances with ENERGY STAR qualified ones.

Example Two:

(16.5-18.4 cu. ft.)
refrigerator – 1984
qualified top-mounted
(16.5-18.4 cu. ft.)
refrigerator – 2004
Annual energy
1457 kWh 411 kWh
Annual energy
1457 x 0.08 = $117 411 x 0.08 = $32.88

The savings over a year if your customers upgrade their refrigerator: $84.12

So, each year your customers would spend $84 more in electricity by keeping the old refrigerator. As an added incentive, calculate how many years at this rate it would take to pay off a new appliance. At this annual energy cost, would it be worthwhile to keep the old model as a beer-fridge? No! That's where you offer your recycling service (if you have any).

Example Three:

  1990 dishwasher 2004 ENERGY STAR
qualified dishwasher
Annual energy
1026 kWh 422 kWh
Annual energy
1026 x 0.08 = $82 422 x 0.08 = $33.76

The savings over a year if your customers upgrade their dishwasher: $48.24

So, it costs $48.24 more each year for your customers to keep the old dishwasher instead of buying a new one. Not only would the new dishwasher save them money, but it would also reduce water consumption and noise!

Because shoppers often buy several appliances at the same time, you can also add up the total cost of their energy bill over a year for all their new purchases. Multiply that by the average life expectancy of the appliances, and you can give them a good idea of how much their new appliances will cost to operate over the years. Then compare these costs with those of less energy-efficient models, and you can show that they will save hundreds – maybe even thousands – of dollars with their new energy-efficient appliances.

The following chart shows the reduction in the average annual energy consumption of major appliances since 1984.

Average annual energy consumption of new
major appliances (in kWh/year)1

  1984 1990 1997 1999 2004
(16.5-18.4 cu. ft.)
1457 1044 664 664 465
ENERGY STAR qualified 411
Standard 1213 1026 649 640 457
ENERGY STAR qualified 422
Clothes washers
Standard 1243 1218 930 860 573
ENERGY STAR qualified 267
Clothes dryers
Standard 1214 1103 887 908 912
Compact 4132
Standard chest 813 658 342 337 3443
Ranges (30-inch)
Self-cleaning 790 727 759 742 622
Non-self-cleaning 786 780 770 694

Source: National Energy Use Database (NEUD), Natural Resources Canada.
1 Based on year of manufacture.
2 Not a weighted average.
3 Freezer data is not as comprehensive as other appliance data and, therefore should be
   used with caution.

Energy Equivalents

The kWh rating on the EnerGuide label shows the energy consumption of the appliance per year. But this does not always mean a lot to your customers. You can help them by comparing kWh to something they can understand easily.

Here are some tips you can use:

  • Saving 50 kWh provides enough energy to run a dishwasher 20 times. That is close to one month of clean dishes for free. (The average household runs a dishwasher about four to five times a week.)
  • Saving 100 kWh provides enough energy to run a clothes washer 50 times, or about one free load of laundry every week for a year.
  • Saving 250 kWh provides enough energy to run a Type 3, top-mounted, 18-cu.-ft. refrigerator for about six months at no cost.
  • An energy- and water-efficient dishwasher saves water and the energy needed to heat it. This is a bonus where water is metered and energy costs are high.

Room Air Conditioners

Today's air conditioners are about 20 percent more energy efficient than they were in 1990, and ENERGY STAR qualified models are even better.

air conditioners
British thermal
unit per hour
1990 (mini-
mum EER)
2003 (mini-
mum EER)
ENERGY STAR qualified
Window-mounted units (with louvred1 sides) without reverse cycle2 less than 6000
6000 to 7999
8000 to 13 999
14 000 to 19 999
Through-the-wall units (with non-louvered3 sides), without reverse cycle2 less than 6000
6000 to 7999
8000 to 13 999
14 000 to 19 999

Casement only Casement slide All sizes

These are the most common air conditioners, but there are other designs and larger sizes.
1 Has exterior side vents. 2 No heating provided. 3 No exterior side vents.

New coil designs and more efficient compressors have contributed greatly to the improved efficiency of room air conditioners.

The majority of room air conditioners are the window-mounted, louvered type. They are mounted into an open window and plugged in. As the size increases, the amount of electricity required increases and the customer may have to be concerned with having a dedicated electrical circuit, or installing a 240-volt circuit for the larger sizes.

Some room air conditioners are designed to fit through-the-wall (TTW). These are also referred to as "without louvered sides" and are built this way because the wall framing would interfere with the airflow through the sidewalls of the air conditioner. TTW room air conditioners tend to be less efficient than the regular window units. TTW room air conditioners must also meet minimum efficiency regulations. Work is underway to include TTW units in the ENERGY STAR specifications.

Although not common in colder climates, some room air conditioners are built to provide some heating, either with electric resistance heating or by what is called a reverse cycle. Reverse cycle means the room air conditioner acts like a heat pump and will heat the room. When the flow of the refrigerant is reversed, heat is released inside.

Window-mounted units are labelled on the EnerGuide label as being louvered, i.e., having exterior side vents. This permits better air exchange, which is in part why the minimum regulatory and ENERGY STAR required performance levels are higher for window-mounted units than for TTW units that are non-louvered (without louvered sides).

Portable room air conditioners are now also available. They have a hose that is used to exhaust heat to the outside and, because they are on wheels, can be moved from room to room. Water condensed from the cooled air has to be removed and drained away. There is currently no CSA Standard or energy efficiency rating for this product.


Image: ENERGY STAR symbol

ENERGY STAR qualified room air conditioners are the best performers. Room air conditioners that display the ENERGY STAR symbol must exceed minimum regulated energy efficiency standards by 10 percent or more

Features that help room air conditioners achieve this efficiency include

  • high-efficiency compressors
  • high-efficiency fan motors
  • improved heat transfer surfaces


While Canada's EnerGuide label enables you to compare the energy consumption of various appliances, the ENERGY STAR symbol – displayed alone or as part of the EnerGuide label - helps you identify those that are the most energy efficient in their class.

The ENERGY STAR symbol accompanies the EnerGuide label only on appliance models that achieve premium levels of energy efficiency, based on specific criteria endorsed by Natural Resources Canada.

ENERGY STAR qualified clothes washers

Through superior designs, ENERGY STAR qualified washers help you save money on utility bills by using less water and energy while cleaning clothes thoroughly. In fact, these clothes washers use 50 percent less energy and 35 to 50 percent less water than traditional models.

ENERGY STAR qualified clothes washers feature:

  • Sensors that prevent energy waste by matching water needs to the size of each load
  • Advanced high-speed motors that reduce the length of spin cycles and remove more water from clothes, so less time and energy are needed for drying
  • You can enjoy the benefits of these washers without giving up features you've come to expect from regular units. ENERGY STAR qualified clothes washers are available in both top- and front-loading designs of varying capacities and offer adjustable water-temperature controls and load sizes.

ENERGY STAR qualified dishwashers

Dishwashers that display the ENERGY STAR mark achieve energy efficiency levels that are at least 25 percent higher than the minimum regulated standard in Canada.

ENERGY STAR qualified dishwashers save energy by using improved technology and less hot water. These appliances feature sensors that calculate the required length of washing cycles and the appropriate water temperatures needed to clean each load. Some models feature built-in heating elements that save water-heating costs.

ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerators

As there are now ENERGY STAR performance levels for all household refrigerator types, you will find ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerators and refrigerator-freezers across the full range of these appliances.

ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerators and freezers incorporate many advanced features, including:

  • Better insulation
  • High-efficiency compressors
  • Improved heat-transfer surfaces
  • More precise temperature and defrost mechanisms

These appliances must exceed minimum Government of Canada energy efficiency standards by 15 percent. ENERGY STAR qualified compact refrigerators must exceed minimum Government of Canada energy efficiency standards by at least 20 percent.

ENERGY STAR qualified freezers

ENERGY STAR qualified standard-size freezers must exceed minimum Government of Canada energy efficiency standards by at least 10 percent. Compact freezer models must exceed minimum Government of Canada energy efficiency standards by at least 20 percent.

ENERGY STAR qualified dehumidifiers

High-efficiency, portable residential dehumidifiers may also be eligible to display the ENERGY STAR symbol. The energy efficiency of these appliances is measured by their Energy Factor (EF), or the amount of water they remove per kilowatt-hour of energy used.

To meet ENERGY STAR performance levels, standard-capacity dehumidifiers (up to 35 litres of water removal per day) must have EFs between 1.2 and 1.5, depending on the appliance's capacity. High-capacity units (36 to 57 litres of water removal per day) must achieve EFs of 2.25 or higher. All ENERGY STAR qualified standard- and high-capacity humidifiers must exceed the minimum Government of Canada energy efficiency standard by 20 and 50 percent, respectively. EnerGuide labels do not appear on residential dehumidifiers.

On June 1, 2008, standard-capacity dehumidifiers with water removal of greater that 25.5 to less than 35.5 L/day must have an EF of 1.80 to meet the ENERGY STAR criteria.

Image: Potential energy savings with ENERGY STAR

The ENERGY STAR name and the ENERGY STAR symbol are registered trademarks of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and are used with permission.