Savenia Launches Revolutionary Home ‘Shell’ Ratings

Today we are delighted to announce the launch of our long awaited Home Shell Ratings, an innovative home rating system to capture the dollar savings to home buyers of enhanced insulation, efficient windows, air sealing and other factors making up the building envelope. The Savenia ‘Shell’ Rating is our 6th product category (Appliances, Lighting, Water Heaters, HVAC, Solar, Shell) in an effort to unlock the value of efficiency upgrades in residential homes. See the full release here.

SaveniaHome.com

We’ve teamed up with Sandy Spring Builders, one of the leading high-end custom home builders and remodelers in the DC metro area to expand Savenia ratings to their new homes. Savenia has already awarded the Shell, Appliance, Water Heater, and Lighting plans in the Sandy Spring Savvy ‘SL’ line with a Gold Rating, signifying they are amongst the most energy efficient in the country.

Millions of Americans have upgraded their insulation as part of government or utility incentive programs, while new home builders are starting to pay more attention to the building envelope. These shell improvements have value – they can save thousands per year in utilities and can cost thousands more than the average home to install.

Studies show buyers are willing to pay a premium price (+9%) for efficiency rated homes that save on utility bills. With the launch of Savenia Shell Ratings, we can now help sellers, builders, Realtors and renovators unlock the value of these features with Savenia Home Rating Labels and marketing materials to help them differentiate, sell faster and capture more value.

It is a pleasure to work with Sandy Spring Builders, who have made a real commitment to building high efficiency into the core of their new homes.

Savenia helps homeowners, Realtors, builders and renovators unlock the value of home efficiency upgrades. www.saveniahome.com

Electricity Prices Rise Again in 2013 – 10th Straight Year

Residential electricity prices rose again in 2013 for the 10th straight year. The average US household now pays around 12 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity, 2% ahead of last year but 44% above the cost back in 2002 before the current decade of price increases began.  Savenia Labs ElectroSavvy-DB database tracks energy cost and environmental impact data by zip code.

ElectroSavvy-DB LogoSome 80% of states saw prices increase, with Louisiana rates jumping almost 11%, while RI, NY, CA and ID saw increases in the 6-7% range.  The highest rates in the country continue to be in Hawaii at 3x the national average, followed by NY, AK, CT, VT and CA which all pay between 45-55% more than average. Illinois was the only state to see a double digit drop in prices of 11% vs last year.

While power plants are slowly moving to replace coal with natural gas – the impact is not yet being felt by residential customers. Forecasting is difficult as electricity demand continues to grow while natural gas supply tries to keep up with higher demand from the colder winter in the east and other sectors. It looks increasingly likely that 2014 prices will rise again.

Buyers will make very different purchase decisions based on local electric, gas and water pricing which can swing operating costs quite dramatically based on zip code. Savenia found that the least expensive washing machine to operate in some cities costs hundreds more to operate than other models in different locations, all due to local utility pricing. Savenia captures these differences to help buyers make better decisions. In RetailEnterprise and now for Home buyers and sellers.

 

 

Natural Gas Prices Decline in 2013 – 5th Year Running

Natural gas prices to US residential customers declined by 4% in 2013, marking the 5th straight year on year decline. Prices last peaked in 2008 and have since dropped 26%.

GasSavvy-DB LogoSavenia Labs recent update of our GasSavvy-DB database includes natural gas prices and impacts by zip code.  The highest natural gas prices in the country were in Hawaii – where residents paid almost $5 per therm, some 5x more than the median US price. Colorado has the lowest prices, around 75 cents per therm at a savings of 25% from the US median. Almost every state saw a decline in residential natural gas prices in 2013.

At the same time, electricity prices continue to rise (even though many power plants run on natural gas) and this is changing the dynamics of purchasing decisions for gas vs. electric appliances like furnaces and heat pumps – where traditionally the more efficient electric heat pump had the edge.

Despite this long-term trend, market conditions and weather can still have significant impacts on short-term pricing. Prices hit a 5-year high on Feb. 24 2014 as temperatures plunged due to the infamous polar vortex, with unanticipated high consumption pushing natural gas inventories to their lowest levels in the last 10 years. Since then, as inventories have adjusted, prices have subsided.

Going forward, pricing dynamics are harder to predict as more domestic gas supply (which normally means lower prices) is pitted against higher priced export customers. There are also outstanding questions on the environmental impacts of natural gas – both to air pollution and water supplies, and we look forward to larger scale studies to help quantify the differences vs. coal and other sources.

Buyers will make very different purchase decisions based on local gas, electric and water pricing which can swing operating costs quite dramatically based on zip code. Savenia captures these differences to help buyers make better decisions. In Retail, Enterprise and now for Home buyers and sellers.

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’s World First Spotlight and Floodlight Labels Make Savings Easy

Savvy LightbulbToday we are delighted to announce the world’s first light bulb energy and environmental impact rating labels for floodlights and spotlights. Full press release here.

By bringing the power of Savenia Labs Energy Rating Labels to these high energy bulbs, shoppers can easily see how much it costs to light their homes across different bulb technologies, before they buy, at participating retailers.

Studies show fewer than 20% of the spot- and floodlights sold today are LEDs. With prices lower than ever, why haven’t consumers made the switch?

Buying light bulbs has become complicated.  One thing that should be easy is calculating the big energy and cost savings from switching to energy efficient bulbs. Savenia Labs can help. Until now, comparing the total costs for 3 bulbs required 11 mathematical calculations in the aisle.  As the average home has 50 mostly energy-hungry incandescent light bulbs, shoppers stand to save thousands by switching to more efficient bulbs that use less energy and last longer.

We found that some floodlight bulbs cost over $160 to power and require 8 bulb changes over a standardized 15-year lighting period, while others can cost as little as $40 to run over the same period with a single bulb.

Savenia Labs’ newest Energy Rating Labels make it easy to see which bulbs will cost more in electricity over time and how many bulbs you’ll need to replace over the same period. Energy costs and carbon footprints are customized by local zip code.

The labels simplify and highlight the potential cost savings between bulbs at a glance, so shoppers can consider other features important to them.

You can see the selection of Savenia Labs Energy Rated light bulbs on the shelf at participating stores throughout the Washington DC and Baltimore regions.  You can also review our analysis of the features, brands, and results on your smartphone.  Let us know what you think!

Do you want inside info on more Savenia World Firsts before everybody else? SIGN-UP

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.

Get the inside info on Savenia World Firsts before everybody else. SIGN-UP

Savenia Labs Launches World’s First Light Bulb Energy & Environmental Impact Rating Labels

Today we are delighted to announce the world’s first light bulb energy and environmental impact rating labels. Full press release here.

Savvy LightbulbBy bringing the power of Savenia Labs Energy Rating Labels to light bulbs, shoppers can easily see how much it costs to light their homes across different bulb technologies, before they buy, at participating retailers.

Buying light bulbs has become a complicated task with the recent introduction of new technologies.  One thing that should be easy is calculating the big energy and cost savings from switching to energy efficient bulbs. We’re here to help. Until now, comparing the total costs for 3 bulbs required 11 mathematical calculations in the aisle.   As the average home has 50 mostly energy-hungry incandescent light bulbs, shoppers stand to save thousands by switching to more efficient bulbs that use less energy and last longer.

We found that some light bulbs cost well over $100 to power and require 16 bulb changes over a standardized 15-year lighting period, while others can cost as little as $20 to run over the same period with a single bulb

Savenia Labs’ newest Energy Rating Labels make it easy to see which bulbs will cost more in electricity over time and how many bulbs you’ll need to replace over the same period. Energy costs and carbon footprints are customized by local zip code.

The labels simplify and highlight the potential cost savings between bulbs at a glance, so shoppers can consider other features important to them.

You can see the selection of Savenia Labs Energy Rated light bulbs on the shelf at participating stores throughout the Washington and Baltimore regions.  You can also review our analysis of the features, brands, and results on your smartphone.  Let us know what you think!

Do you want inside info on more Savenia World Firsts before everybody else? SIGN-UP

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!

Join our mailing list for timely information and more World Firsts! SIGN-UP

Savenia Labs Launches World’s First Single Serve Coffeemaker Energy Ratings

We are delighted to announce today that Savenia Labs has launched the world’s first ever independent lab tested energy rating labels for single serve coffeemakers.  See full release here.  These labels are in participating retail stores now, in time for holiday shoppers to make more energy efficient, cost saving and environmentally friendly purchases.  All the while buying better gifts this holiday season.

Single Serve coffeemakers are among the most popular holiday season gifts this year.  Taking the United States by storm, these pod-based brewers and supplies are the fastest growing segment of the coffeemaker market, accounting for billions in sales.

Until now, it was not possible to see how much it costs in energy to run these machines just by looking at the boxes on the shelf or online.  With Savenia Labs Energy Ratings, that’s all changing.  Now shoppers can know which coffeemaker costs $200 to run and which costs just $20…BEFORE they buy.

The waste created from used pods also drives the environmental footprint of these machines.  Many models include reusable pods, while few have recyclable pods.  We are training store staff and making practical advice available to shoppers on how to minimize this waste.

If you’re planning on giving (or receiving) a single serve machine this year, make sure to check out Savenia’s brand new ratings at participating retail stores.  Give the gift someone will want to keep using every day with confidence!

Join our mailing list for timely information and more World Firsts! SIGN-UP

What’s Inside a Single Serve Coffeemaker Pod?

Single Serve coffeemakers are among the hottest holiday items this year, and chances are you’ll buy one, get one as a gift or get served a cup from one in the next month.

Savenia Labs is set to release the world’s first independent lab tested energy ratings on this popular category soon.  While energy usage drives much of their environmental footprint, the waste created from used pods also has a big impact.

Lots of single serve coffeemakers have entered the market with many different types of coffee pods.  As each works a little differently, we’ve assembled a guide on the five most popular types to help you with your holiday shopping.

To set the stage – the average person will spend over $3,000 on coffee pods and supplies over the 5 year lifetime of the unit.  Lined up side by side, the used pods alone would stretch across 3 football fields.  So which pod system you buy is pretty important.

K Cups

By far the most popular pod-based coffeemakers out there use the Keurig K Cups.  There are 268 varieties of K Cups available on Keurig’s website.  The pods are not recyclable, but Keurig provides a reusable cup that can be used to save money and waste.  The K Cups are tall, rounded plastic cups with a small paper filter at the bottom.  Your favorite coffee fills the rest of the cup above the filters.  Hot water is fed through a hole pierced in the top of each cup, through the filter, and through another hole pierced in the bottom right into your mug.  Keurig models and partner models based on Keurig K Cup technology like Cuisinart and Mr. Coffee all use K Cups.

CBTL Capsules

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has a slightly different design from the ubiquitous K Cup.  We found 25 varieties on The Coffee Bean’s website.  The cups are not recyclable, and we couldn’t find refillable cups for sale.  But the CBTL model we tested used much higher water pressure to handle espresso, and the small plastic capsules contain a plastic sieve to evenly distribute this higher pressure water before it gets to your mug.  The coffee is packed below that sieve and above another filter at the bottom of the packet.

T Discs

Tassimo single serve coffeemakers use T Discs.  There are 62 varieties available directly from Tassimo.  These are not widely recyclable and we couldn’t find refillable discs available.  T Discs appear to be much more intensively designed with thicker, stronger plastic channeling water through tunnels of coffee before filtering into your mug.  These use low pressure to brew a variety of coffees and beverages.  Uniquely, each T Disc includes a barcode at the top that triggers automatic brew settings to customize the brewing process.

Nescafe Dolce Gusto

DeLonghi’s Dolce Gusto coffeemakers use Nescafe Dolce Gusto Capsules.  There are 22 capsule varieties available from Nescafe.  These are not widely recyclable and there are no refillable capsules available.  From the outside, these look quite similar to K Cups but each has a permeable membrane in the middle of the capsule to enable high water pressure brew of every cup.  According to Delonghi, the machine pushes water at a pressure of 15 bars through the membrane.  They claim this approximates the pressure found in coffee house machines.

Bunn/Senseo Coffee Pads

Bunn’s MC My Café and Senseo’s Single Serve Coffeemakers use coffee pads that are quite a bit different than any other on the market.  Instead of a plastic cup as in most other systems, they use coffee filter-like paper pads that enclose the coffee.  These pads are compostable, and you can also buy refillable versions to fill with your own coffee at home without the waste (and cost). Neither the Bunn nor the Senseo push high water pressure through these pads.  Newer Bunn models also use K Cups.

Which system you buy depends on what’s important to you.  If you’re an espresso drinker, you want a high water pressure system and the options for refillable / recyclable pods are limited.  For regular coffee and other ‘non-pressure’ drinks, there are several options for you to buy, recycle or re-fill depending on your needs.

Be sure to check out our other blogs on single serve coffeemakers, including The Competition, The Consumer, The Costs and The Environment.  And look out for the release of Savenia Labs Energy Rating Labels on popular single serve coffeemakers…in stores soon!

Join our mailing list for timely information and more World Firsts! SIGN-UP