This article was originally published in the November/December 1999 issue of Home Energy Magazine. Some formatting inconsistencies may be evident in older archive content.


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Home Energy Magazine Online November/December 1999

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Energy Star Hits the Roof. According to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researcher Hashem Akbari, a highly reflective roof can cut cooling loads as much as 20%-30% in a typical house in Sacramento, California. Now such roof materials also qualify for the prized Energy Star sticker. The Energy Star Web site at has a list of Energy Star Roof Products Program partners that carry reflective roof materials. An Energy Star roof has a potential surface temperature that is up to 100ºF cooler in direct sunlight than a standard roof. To qualify for the Energy Star label, the roof product must meet or exceed certain solar reflectance criteria: For low-slope roofs, the initial solar reflectance must be 0.65 or more, with a maintained solar reflectance of 0.5 or more over the first three years, under normal conditions. For steep-slope roofs, the initial solar reflectance must be 0.25 or more, with a maintained solar reflectance of 0.15 or more over the first three years, under normal conditions. Environmental Building News, Vol. 8, No. 4. RR1, P.O. Box 161, Brattleboro, VT 05301. Tel: (802)257-7300; Fax:(802)257-7304; E-mail:; Web site:

Florida Utilities Ramp Up Energy Efficiency and Renewables. The four largest utilities in Florida--Florida Power Corporation, Florida Power & Light, Gulf Power Corporation, and Tampa Electric Company--will offer their customers energy efficiency products through programs that promote green pricing, Energy Star homes, and energy efficiency improvements for low-income residents. This means that Floridians will have more renewable power options for their homes. Their homes should also cost less to run, and the percentage of household income that low-income residents will spend on energy will be lower. All this comes as part of a settlement by the Legal Environmental Assistance Foundation (LEAF), a public interest environmental law firm that works to protect people's health. LEAF press release. LEAF, 1114 Thomasville Road, Suite E, Tallahassee, FL 32303-6290. Tel:(850)681-2591; Fax: (850)224-1275; E-mail:

Which Washer Is the Wisest Choice? Consumer Reports put the leading washing machines through their cycles, and came clean with a recommendation for front-loading washers, saying, No top-loader could match the front-loaders for miserliness with both water and energy. The best performer was Sear's Kenmore model 2904, which sells for $800. The $700 Frigidaire and the $720 General Electric Spacemaker came in a close second and third, respectively. Among the top-loading machines, Kenmore again scored highest with its $580 model 2891 and got second place with its $600 Resource Saver model, while the brand also came out ahead in terms of reliability. The GE Profile Performance and the GE Profile also scored well in terms of energy efficiency, and were even more affordable at $480 and $470, respectively. But don't let those lower top loader prices mislead, because you'll eventually lose at least part of that savings in higher energy bills, the article pointed out. Also, it said, all front-loaders qualify for utility-company rebates offered in some parts of the country, where only a handful of top-loaders do so. Consumer Reports, July 1999. Consumers Union, P.O. Box 2015, Yonkers, NY 10703. Web site:

Appliance Standard Updates Overdue. Since the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) became law in 1987, appliance standards in the United States have saved an annual average of about 1.2 quads of energy, and have made it unnecessary to construct 31 500MW power plants. If the Department of Energy (DOE) keeps these standards up to date, U.S. consumers can save $16 billion by 2020, and the release into the atmosphere of 18 million metric tons of carbon emissions can be avoided. DOE has set due dates for catching up on its appliance standard updating obligations, but since it has repeatedly missed such deadlines in the past, we are watching DOE closely, says David Nemtzow president of the Alliance to Save Energy. Meanwhile, in response to massive power outages during the heat waves of the summer, DOE secretary Bill Richardson has promised to put air conditioner standards on the fast track--a move that Nemtzow strongly commends. Alliance Update, Spring 1999. Alliance to Save Energy, 1200 18th St. NW, Suite 900, Washington, DC 20036. Tel:(202)857-0666; Fax:(202)331-9588; E-mail:; Web site:

WAP Funds Restored. Thanks to an amendment introduced by Representative Bernard Sanders of Vermont, the House of Representatives in July voted to restore $13 million to the budget for weatherization assistance programs (WAPs). States are still required to match 25% of the federal funding, however. Efficiency News, bimonthly electronic newsletter, July/August 1991. Alliance to Save Energy (see contact information above).

Energy Research Falling Worldwide. From a peak of $11.9 billion in 1979, energy research in the United States had dropped to only $4.3 billion by 1996. This trend was reflected by the other nine nations that are members of the International Energy Agency (IEC). These countries do the majority of the world's energy research. During roughly the same period, most of these countries cut government funds for energy R&D; only Japan and Switzerland increased it. Science, 30 July, 1999. American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1200 New York Ave. NW, Washington, DC 200050.


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