Savenia Donates Appliances To Homeless Families In Transition

Today we announced our plan to donate a large selection of appliances to Stepping Stones Shelter, a Montgomery County Maryland non-profit that provides temporary housing to homeless families in transition to more stable living arrangements. You can see the full release here.

Stepping Stones Shelter LogoSavenia will donate microwave ovens, coffeemakers, teakettles, toasters and toaster ovens to help up to 50 families move out of the shelter and into their new housing with the appliances they need. Appliances were lightly used during Savenia energy efficiency laboratory testing.

“Every year, Stepping Stones serves as a refuge for families who have nowhere else to call home, and as a lifeline for families in the community who are at-risk for returning to homelessness” said Denise Fredericks, Executive Director of Stepping Stones Shelter. “With the generous support of companies like Savenia, we are able to provide temporary shelter and critically needed services to help families move from the crisis of homelessness to more stable housing. Once families are stably housed, they can take the next step with confidence.”

“We are delighted to see these appliances make a difference in the homes of local families making a fresh start,” said John Jabara, Founder of Savenia Labs.

About Stepping Stones Shelter
Stepping Stones Shelter provides a continuum of services (emergency shelter, permanent supportive housing, and post-shelter services) to homeless families with children in order to move them from crisis to a stable home environment.  By offering food, shelter and supportive services in an atmosphere of dignity and respect, Stepping Stones provides hope for the future, strengthens families, and promotes self-sufficiency. http://www.steppingstonesshelter.org, For more information contact Denise Fredericks at denise@steppingstonesshelter.org.

Savenia Reveals First Look at Foreign Language Energy Rating Labels

 

Today we revealed a first look at Savenia Energy Rating Labels in Arabic, Chinese and Spanish which, together with our popular English labels, cover over 1/3 of the world population.  See the press release here.

template_4up-2We developed these labels not only with foreign languages, but local currencies and energy costs based on zip codes in Cairo, Shanghai, and Barcelona in addition to our hometown of Bethesda, Maryland.

Most countries still use first generation energy rating labeling systems that don’t allow for customization according to location.  And global retailers looking to drive their sustainability labeling around the world have had few options. Until now.

Savenia provides a unique and powerful solution for informing and educating buyers so they make better purchase decisions that reduce energy costs and energy demand.

And we think that makes sense in any language.

Let us know what you think. And make sure you check out our English labels in participating stores in the DC / Baltimore metro area here.

 

Savenia Labs Sneak Peek Into WaterSavvy-DB: New U.S. Regional Water Price Database

City Water Costs Chart with LogoSavenia Labs announced today that it has conducted an exhaustive analysis of the municipal water costs of hundreds of cities across the United States*, and has compiled this information into a unique database called WaterSavvy-DBTM. See full press release here.

WaterSavvy-DBTM is the most up-to-date database of municipal residential water costs in the US and affords valuable insights into one of our country’s most important natural resources.

The database will power the next generation of Savenia HYDROTM water, energy and environmental impact ratings for dishwashers and washing machines to help buyers save money and local water supplies.

Here is a sample of our findings.

Pricing System Permutations

There is no standard way localities charge for water costs – from our search we found more than a dozen ways to calculate a water bill, ranging from one fixed price per month, to rates that rise depending on usage and change by the season.  There are pricing tiers, seasonal rates, fixed costs, administrative fees, sewer rates, block rates, average and marginal per gallon costs. WaterSavvy-DBTM captures every feature of pricing for all its cities.

Not Just Water Anymore

Over 60% of the average water bill is for sewer and administrative fees. While there is a  wide variation on how water bills are calculated, on average a family of four in the United States pays most for sewer ($32/mo.) followed by water ($30) and administrative fees ($19) on their monthly water bills.

Dramatic Price Differences

Savenia found big differences in water prices across the country. The most expensive water was in Atlanta, GA where an average family spends $2,600 per year – almost 10 times more than residents in Wilmington, DE. Interestingly, 4% of cities surveyed don’t pay for water based on their usage but instead pay flat fees regardless of usage. The average US household pays $80 per month.  Pricing logic is not always clear. We found cheap water in the Southwest where water is thought to be scarce, and expensive water in areas where rivers seem to be full. In many cases sewer costs seem to be driving the differences.

Bringing It All Together For Shoppers

Using this data, Savenia found that shoppers in different cities would choose completely different appliances to save money depending on local water and electricity prices. Take the example of two families living in different states looking to buy a washing machine. One family, in Hilo, Hawaii, pays some of the country’s highest electricity rates but comparatively low water prices. The other family is in Seattle, WA, with high water prices, but comparatively low electricity rates. They’ve narrowed down their options to these two similarly sized Energy Star washing machines from well-known brands:

  • The Whirlpool WTW4880AW, 3.4 cu. ft., retailing for $600 (144 kWh/yr, 7743 gallons/yr)
  • The GE GWFH1200DWW, 3.56 cu. ft., retailing for $800 (181 kWh/yr, 5582 gallons/yr)

In Hilo, the family would save about $300 over their washing machine’s lifetime by purchasing the Whirlpool, while the Seattle family would save about $300 by purchasing the GE model. Drastically different decisions based on local utility pricing. If electricity or water prices go up over time they would save even more.

With the power of WaterSavvy-DBTM, Savenia Labs continues to illuminate hidden appliance costs and environmental impacts.

Savenia Energy Ratings are available in participating DC / Baltimore Metro Area Retailers (list here) – and for Savenia Enterprise customers.

*For this survey, Savenia Labs assumed water use for a family of 4 using a consistent 8400 gallons a month regardless of season. No hookup or starting fees were assessed and there were no irrigation or grey water recycling systems in the house. The water is city billed and maintained (where available) and the family is billed monthly. The family lives in a standalone house with a 5/8ths or, if unavailable, 3/4ths connection with 8 rooms and is within the city limits.

Savenia Labs Launches First ‘HYDRO’ Washing Machine & Dishwasher Energy Rating Labels

We are delighted to announce today the launch of Savenia Labs ‘HYDRO’ Energy Rating Labels on large appliances.  Full release is here. These labels are the first of their kind to report both lifetime water use and energy cost, customized by zip code region anywhere in the US.

Screen Shot 2013-06-06 at 5.48.59 AMWater is increasingly viewed as one of our nations most valuable natural resources. Whether due to the realities of water scarcity in the west, or concerns about water quality in the east, people are looking for more information to make better decisions. Savenia Labs can help.

Most people might be surprised to know that for washing machines, we found water costs can run 3-4x higher than energy costs, so buying water efficient units saves both money and the environment.

The thirstiest washing machine we rated used 140,000 gallons of water, the equivalent of 14 swimming pools of water over its 11 year lifetime at a water cost of $1,650 (Potomac, MD), while the most water efficient unit of the same size used only 1/3 that amount. But up to now it has been difficult to compare water use across products in the same category at the time of purchase. Savenia Labs HYDRO Energy Rating Labels solve this problem by providing both water use AND energy use by product at a glance, so buyers can make better decisions.

The ratings are currently available to enterprise customers, and will be made available to appliance retailers and consumers in fall 2013.  In the meantime, consumers can sign-up for information on the Savenia Hydro program here.

 

Electricity Prices Up Again in 2012

Residential Energy Costs 2013 with Savenia Logo

According to the EIA, residential electricity prices rose again across the US.  Residents of 75% of states (including DC) saw price increases in 2012, with Utah increasing the fastest at 11% vs. 2011. Other big increases in the 7-8% range were WY, ID, NE, HI, SD, MI and VT.

The most expensive electricity in the US was in Hawaii, where residents paid 37 cents per kilowatt hour, over 3x more than the national average of 12 cents. Next was Alaska and NY who paid 18 cents, followed by the North Eastern states of CT, VT, NH, NJ and CA who all paid 16-17 cents, some 50% more than the national average.

The cheapest electricity rates were found in Louisiana, Idaho and Washington state where residents paid between 8-9 cents.

Electricity makes up a large chunk of household budgets and as most consumers absorb these increases, it’s good to know you can take action to lower your bills by looking at Savenia Labs ratings for energy efficient appliances, light bulbs and other electrical items.  And since electricity to power these products creates air pollution, saving energy is both good for your wallet and good for the environment.

Savenia Labs Energy Ratings use ZIP code based regional energy prices and carbon footprint data to give shoppers the most relevant information to aid their buying decisions.  A coffeemaker that costs $200 to run over 5 years in Maryland will cost over $600 to run in Hawaii, and our ratings and labels reflect this reality for local buyers.

Go in to a participating retailer and take action to reduce your electricity bill on your next purchase.

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Savenia Labs Launches World’s First Electric Kettle Energy Ratings

 

Today we are delighted to announce the world’s first energy ratings on electric tea kettles.  Full press release here.  Tea is often thought to be the second most popular drink in the world (the first being water) – millions of people use these units every day.  Now shoppers can find out how much they cost to operate before they buy at Savenia Labs participating retailers.

photoWho knew your tea came with so much baggage?  Our testing has shown that for many models, you purchase each electric kettle twice – once at the store and once again in energy costs over its 4 year lifetime.  And since unit prices and energy costs can vary significantly from unit to unit, consumers can lock in long-term savings by using Savenia Labs ratings as they shop.

You can see the selection of electric kettles together with Savenia Labs Energy Ratings on the shelf at participating stores throughout the Washington DC and Baltimore regions.

For more in-depth analysis of the features, brands, and lab test results, use your smartphone to review our research online.   Let us know what you think!

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Happy Thanksgiving from Savenia Labs

At Savenia Labs, we have a lot to be thankful for this year.

Just over 1 year ago, we brought our energy rating labels into retail stores – enabling shoppers to make energy efficient purchasing decisions on many products for the very first time.  Since then, we’ve expanded to 11 more stores in 3 states, multiplying the impact consumers are having every day by buying more efficient, cheaper-to-run appliances.  We’ve also expanded our ratings database from 3 appliance categories to covering 9 by year end.

We couldn’t have done this without the support of so many people and organizations in the DC metro region and beyond- retail stores, business partners, non-profits, universities and many others.  Thank you!

Lastly, thanks to our hundreds of facebook fans and twitter followers, newsletter and blog readers for reading our posts, giving us feedback, and telling your friends about Savenia Labs.

Your efforts have helped to educate people on how to save energy, money, and cut pollution in Washington DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia.  For more tips on how to save over the holidays, check our Thanksgiving savings tips from last year.

Single Serve Coffeemaker Confidential Part III – The Costs

Coffee drinking can be an expensive habit.  A small simple cup from Starbucks will cost you $1.75 per day, while a fancier palette could run you $4 or more.  If you buy 3 cups per day (the average amount of coffee Americans told us they drink per day), that’ll run you between $1,900 and $4,400 per year.  Over five years, a continuous Starbucks habit would run from $9,500 to $22,000 depending on how expensive your tastes are.

With single serve machines the costs are spread out among many different pieces.  The machines themselves cost anywhere from $50 to $200 depending on local prices and rebates.  The coffee pods can run from 50 cents up to a couple bucks each; that adds up pretty quickly since many consumers drink 3 or more of these per day.  These pods alone will cost you $2,700 to $11,000 over the coffeemaker’s 5 year lifetime.  Lastly, maintenance on the product can add up when you change the water filter every 3 months and buy de-scaling solutions to keep the unit clean.  Assuming you buy the lower cost pods, altogether this can add up to $3,000 or more over the 5 year lifetime of the unit… and this is before you get to the energy cost of running the unit. Choose wisely.

Brewing coffee in either a traditional coffeemaker or in reusable pods can cost far less in coffee used.  That’s assuming you make only the coffee you will drink with no waste. The Specialty Coffee Association of America recommends using 10 grams of ground coffee to make one 6 ounce cup of joe.  Conservatively, to make three 8-ounce cups per day at $10 per pound bag prices (about the price of a 1-pound Starbucks bag on Amazon), you would spend $1,610 over the coffeemaker’s 5 year lifetime on ground coffee.  That’s over $1,100 less than you’d spend if you bought the cheapest coffee pods on the market.  But making the coffee yourself is certainly much less convenient, far messier, and lacking in the incredible variety of drinks these pods now offer.

Increasingly, Americans are finding the extra convenience well worth the price – single serve coffeemakers are by far the fastest growing coffee segment in the country.

Stay tuned for our next post in the series on the environmental perspective.

Savenia Labs Launches First Toaster Energy Ratings

Today we are delighted to announce the world’s first energy ratings on toasters.  Full press release here.  Millions of people use these units around the world every day, and now you can find out how much they cost to operate before you buy at Savenia Labs participating retailers.

Energy is Toast.  This time we tested 4 slice units; basic units, full featured with lights and electronic lift mechanisms, dual chamber (2×2) models and long slot toasters.  We found that the energy costs alone can exceed the purchase price on some models, while the dual chamber (2×2) control was a useful feature for people who make 2 slices more often than 4.

You can see the selection of toasters together with Savenia Labs Energy Ratings on the shelf at participating stores, and on our smartphone website at www.savenialabs.com.

In the run up to the holiday season, now is a great time to buy toasters.  And you can save big with coupons from some of our partner stores.

DC / Baltimore Ace Coupon here.  Fairfax Virginia Coupon here.

Please visit the stores and let us know what you think.

Savenia Labs Expands to Washington DC

 

Today we are delighted to announce that Savenia Labs Energy Ratings are now available to residents of the nation’s capital at 5 Ace Hardware stores in Washington DC.  Read full release here.

Savenia Labs Energy Ratings are now available at 5th Street Ace Hardware, Glover Park Hardware, Logan Hardware, Old Takoma Park Ace Hardware, and Tenleytown Ace Hardware.

These stores are all part of the A Few Cool Hardware Stores Chain, a forward thinking and customer focused chain of Ace Hardware stores in the DC metro region.

In the run up to the holiday season, they are offering a discount on Savenia Labs rated appliances, for the coupon click here.

We are delighted to introduce Savenia Labs Energy Ratings to residents of our nation’s capital, which has the largest number of energy efficient buildings in the country as well as hundreds of natural parks and historic monuments.  Local residents can now shop for more energy efficient products and save money on energy costs, while reducing pollution due to electricity production.

Please visit the stores and check out the new displays for your holiday shopping, and join us in welcoming these stores to the Savenia Labs retail network.