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.
Water 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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We focused on 2 aspects of the environmental impact of single serve coffeemakers – electricity consumption and waste from used cups / pods. Extra electricity usage in the home leads to higher energy costs, and results in power plant energy production leading to air pollution. Non-recyclable single serve coffee cups / pods produce plastic waste over the product’s lifetime that can end up in landfills.
Energy- We found the most energy hungry units used more than 10x the energy of the most efficient units, equaling hundreds of dollars over the life of the machine. A big issue here is standby power, as many of these machines keep water hot for 24 hours unless powered off.
Waste- The average single serve unit owner who drinks 3 cups of coffee per day over 5 years would use enough disposable pods to stretch across 3 football fields. By using refillable pods, you can cut down on that waste, but lose the convenience many Americans demand. Some machines come with recyclable or compostable pods – so keep an eye out for those options.
For only a few cups of coffee a day, some single serve coffeemakers can save energy, offer more drink variety and produce faster results than an electric drip coffeemaker. On the other hand these units can produce lots of plastic waste. At larger quantities, an energy efficient 10-12 cup machine can produce coffee at a more efficient per cup rate – if you make and drink a full pot. Higher usage environments are likely to do better, environmentally speaking, with energy efficient 10-12 cup coffeemakers, albeit with less convenience and drink variety. Lower usage environments may do better with a single serve machine with regard to energy consumption, although each machine is slightly different.
Please see our blog on Ownership Costs to factor this in to your buying decision. And stay tuned for our release of Savenia Labs Energy Ratings on SIngle Serve Coffeemakers. In stores soon!
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.
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.
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.
Fairfax is called the ‘heart’ of Northern Virginia for its small town feel in the center of a large metropolitan area. Residents can now shop for more energy efficient products at a locally owned store and save money on energy costs, while reducing pollution due to electricity production.
To kick off the promotion the store is offering extra savings on Savenia Labs rated products, coupon here.
Please visit the store and see the new display, and help us extend a warm welcome to the newest member of the Savenia Labs retail network.
These stores are all part of the forward thinking A Few Cool Hardware Stores chain, and just in time for the holiday season they are offering a coupon on all Savenia Labs rated appliances…click here to save.
We are delighted to introduce Savenia Labs Energy Ratings to residents of Baltimore, where people from strong local neighborhoods live, work and play around one of the country’s largest harbors and numerous historic monuments. Residents can now shop for more energy efficient products at locally owned stores and save money on energy costs, while reducing pollution due to electricity production.
A big welcome to the newest members of the Savenia Labs retail network and Charm City!
Savenia Labs surveys thousands of consumers to understand how they use products, and we use this information to create ‘real-life’ lab test protocols to replicate how the average user normally runs the product.
Our survey of single serve coffee machine users found that most people still bought the machines in stores as opposed to online. Almost 25% got them as gifts. And while many people buy other small appliances because their old one broke, we found most people bought their single serve coffeemakers because they wanted to switch to single serve. And they love their coffee, with 77% reporting use their machine 7 days per week and drinking about 3 cups of mostly coffee each day.
Armed with this information, we go now to the testing laboratory to put these coffeemakers to the test.
Stay tuned for our next report on the costs of ownership.
We are delighted to announce that Savenia Labs Energy Ratings are now available in Potomac, Maryland at Strosniders True Value Hardware Store. This is our 3rd store in Maryland and builds on our successful launches late last year in Bethesda and Silver Spring. Here is the full press release.
Potomac, Maryland is a town of great natural beauty including Great Falls National Park and the historic C&O Canal. Local residents live and play in this natural environment, and can now shop for more energy efficient products and save money on energy costs, while reducing pollution due to electricity production.
Strosniders Potomac is all about great customer service, and by providing Savenia Labs Energy Ratings they are giving customers a unique public service to go with their full line of small appliances and housewares.
Please join us in welcoming Strosniders Potomac to the Savenia Labs network. They are offering $5 off on all Savenia Labs Energy Rated products (coupon here) so why not stop in to see the display…let us know what you think!