How to buy an appliance

How to buy an appliance

In the market for new appliances? Buying the right one doesn’t have to be overwhelming or confusing. Knowing what to look for can help you make the best and most energy-efficient choice for you and your family. Here are some helpful pointers to guide you in the right direction.

Labels, labels everywhere

You may have noticed that appliances in a store’s showroom have multiple labels. But don’t panic – let us tell you what they really mean.

EnerGuide

All appliances, regardless of their efficiency, have an EnerGuide label. This label lets you know the appliance meets the minimum levels required by Canada’s energy efficiency regulations. It also estimates how much energy the appliance uses in a year, and compares its energy performance against similar models.

EnerGuide logo

ENERGY STAR®

ENERGY STAR is an internationally-recognized program that identifies the most efficient products available for purchase. If you notice that an appliance has a blue ENERGY STAR label, you can be confident that it’s in the top 10 to 30% of its class in energy performance.

ENERGY STAR logo

ENERGY STAR Most Efficient

The ENERGY STAR Most Efficient designation is awarded every year to products that are considered to be the “best of the best” in terms of energy efficiency and innovation. These models are generally in the top 15% of their class for energy performance.

ENERGY STAR Most Efficient logo

The “second price tag”

An appliance’s price tag only tells part of the story. It’s important to consider the “second price tag,” or the cost to operate the appliance over its lifetime. Although an energy-efficient product might cost more at the register, it’ll likely save you more money over time than a less expensive and less efficient model.

Tips for buying an energy-efficient fridge

  • Buy an ENERGY STAR certified fridge. Looking for that label is the easiest way to choose an energy-efficient model.
  • Choose the right size. The larger the fridge, the more energy it will use. Decide how much room your family needs and don’t go any larger than necessary.
  • Consider buying a fridge with a top-mounted freezer. These fridges tend to use less energy than side-by-side or bottom-freezer models.
  • Decide if you really need features like a cold water or automatic ice dispenser. These features increase the upfront cost of the fridge as well as its energy consumption.

Tips for buying an energy-efficient laundry pair

  • We’ll say it again…buy ENERGY STAR!
  • Consider buying a front-load clothes washer – these tend to use less water than top-load models. This means clothes that come out of a front-load washer won’t need to spend as long in the dryer, saving you even more energy and money.
  • Look at the clothes washer’s Integrated Modified Energy Factor (IMEF). A higher number means the washer uses energy more efficiently when washing clothes, heating the water, and sitting on standby.
  • Look at the clothes dryer’s Combined Energy Factor (CEF). The higher the CEF, the more efficient the dryer is.

SAVE MORE with appliance rebates

Now that you’re informed and ready with useful appliance-buying tips, we want to help you out with the upfront cost. Efficiency Manitoba is offering rebates on select ENERGY STAR certified appliances. Get $100 off clothes washers (or better yet, $150 off a clothes washer/dryer pair), and $100 off super-efficient refrigerators. All you need to do is buy an eligible appliance and apply on our website – it’s that simple.

Ready to save? Check our eligible product list, buy, then apply!

Get smart with your smart thermostat

Get smart with your smart thermostat

More and more Manitobans are buying smart thermostats for their homes. These Wi-Fi connected devices look slick, are easy to use, and are a great conversation starter when you have guests over. But in order to actually save energy with your smart thermostat, you need to take full advantage of its many features.

While all smart thermostat brands are different, every model has the ability to help you save money on your energy bills. Here are some common features and how they work.

Scheduling

Just like programmable thermostats, smart thermostats allow you to set a schedule that changes the temperature in your home depending on the time of day. This way, you can have one energy-saving setting for when your family is away at school or work, and another more comfortable setting for when everyone is back home.

This summer, we recommend programming your thermostat to increase the temperature by 3°C when everyone’s out of the house. If you set this for at least 8 hours a day, you can save up to 4% on your cooling costs! In the winter, set your thermostat to decrease the temperature by 3°C.

Remote access

Whether you’re in the comfort of your living room, in the break room at work, or away on a family vacation, access to your smart thermostat is right at your fingertips. Making changes to your heating and cooling schedule has never been more convenient.

For example, let’s say you and your family are on a camping trip and you forgot to adjust the temperature of your home before you left. By accessing your thermostat’s app, you can set your thermostat to vacation mode and not miss a second of valuable family time.

SAVE MORE

Get rebates on select energy-efficient appliances and smart thermostats with our SAVE MORE rebate offer!

Geofencing

Some smart thermostat models allow you to set up geofencing. This is a feature that connects to your Wi-Fi and GPS to create a perimeter around your home. When you leave (or enter) this perimeter, the temperature of your home will adjust assuming that you’re away (or coming home). This is a great feature to use if you have a busy or unpredictable schedule.

Tracking & reporting

Are you curious as to how much energy you use and when? Many smart thermostats track and report on your energy consumption, savings, and usage patterns. Some can also send you notifications if it senses issues in your home, such as humidity problems, power outages, and unusually high or low temperatures.

Home automation

Do you have a smart home hub like the Amazon Echo or Google Home? You may be able to integrate it with your smart thermostat. That way, you can adjust your home’s temperature by saying a few simple words. Bonus: if you have other devices like smart LED bulbs, smart plugs, or even a smart doorbell, you may even be able to connect these to your hub and be well on your way to creating a fully-integrated “helpful home.”


Remember, every smart thermostat manufacturer has its own setup instructions, installation requirements, and features. Be sure to check out your thermostat’s user manual or website to find out what’s unique to your product.

Google Nest
ecobee
Honeywell Home
Emerson Sensi Smart Thermostats
Get $50 off select ENERGY STAR certified smart thermostats with our SAVE MORE rebate offer!

SAVE MORE with appliance and smart thermostat rebates

Looking to upgrade your appliances? Ready to get a smart thermostat? Good news – we can help you with the upfront cost.

We’re excited to announce Efficiency Manitoba’s newest offer: rebates on ENERGY STAR® certified appliances and smart thermostats. If you buy an eligible product, all you need to do is apply online to get a rebate. It’s as easy as that. Plus, by purchasing an energy-efficient product, you’ll save on your energy bills for years to come.

Here’s what we’re offering:

  • $50 rebate
    Select ENERGY STAR certified smart thermostats
  • $100 rebate
    Select ENERGY STAR certified clothes washers
  • $150 rebate
    Select ENERGY STAR certified clothes washer/dryer pairs
  • $100 rebate
    Select ENERGY STAR certified super-efficient refrigerators

Participating is easy

Getting your rebate is simple. Follow these three steps to start saving:

  1. Check the eligible product list
    Find out which products qualify by checking out our eligible product list. Be sure to do this before you make a purchase!
  2. Buy an eligible product
    Once you’ve found the perfect appliance or thermostat, head to your favourite store or website and make your purchase. Make sure you hang on to your sales receipt or invoice.
  3. Apply for your rebate online
    Claim your rebate by filling out our online application form and uploading your receipt. You have the option of receiving your rebate either by Interac e-Transfer or cheque.

Why ENERGY STAR?

You’ve seen the phrase “ENERGY STAR” multiple times in this article. But you might be wondering: what exactly does this mean?

ENERGY STAR is an internationally recognized program that labels the most energy efficient products being sold today. Products with this certification are in the top 10 to 30% of their class in energy performance, and have gone through strict testing for quality and long life. That way, you know you’re getting the best of the best in energy efficiency.

Next time you’re shopping for appliances, electronics, lighting, or even a new furnace or windows, look for the small blue ENERGY STAR logo. It’s a symbol of quality and efficiency that you can trust.

Save energy at home this winter

Winter in Manitoba has lots to offer, from skating trails to Festival du Voyageur to ice fishing. But if you’ve lived here for more than five minutes, you know that our winters can be unforgiving.

Minus 30 temperatures can stop even the hardiest of Manitobans in their tracks. To add insult to injury, these cold temperatures often put a strain on our energy bills.

The good news? You can enjoy a warm and toasty home and cut your energy bills at the same time. January 10 is National Cut Your Energy Costs Day, and to celebrate, we’ve made a list of our top energy saving tips for winter. Not only will these tips help you save on your energy bills, but they’ll help keep you nice and cozy when Old Man Winter has other plans.

Winter energy efficiency tips

  1. Head outside! Turn off your electronic devices and take in the arts, culture, and wildlife our province has to offer in the winter. Check out Travel Manitoba’s website for a collection of fun winter activities that you and your family can enjoy.
  2. If you decide to brave the cold, lower the temperature on your thermostat before you leave the house. This is especially easy to do with a programmable or smart thermostat.
  3. Has your furnace been serviced lately? If not, we recommend having a professional give your heating system a check-up to make sure it’s running efficiently.
  4. Stop warm air from leaking outside your home. Caulk and seal gaps around windows, doors, baseboards, and electrical outlets.
  5. If you have a wood fireplace, make sure the damper is closed when you’re not using your fireplace. This way, warm air won’t escape up your chimney.
  6. Use window insulating kits on the insides of your windows. They’re easy to install, relatively inexpensive, and help to reduce chilly drafts.
  7. Let the light in! Keep window blinds open during the day to take advantage of the sun’s warm rays.
  8. Clean your vents, radiators, and baseboard heating so air flows efficiently.
  9. Your block heater only needs to be plugged in for three hours for it to heat your engine. By using a car plug timer, you can cut all that wasted energy.
  10. Do you have a heat recovery ventilator? If you do, now’s the time to set your control to a lower setting. Set the dehumidistat just low enough to prevent condensation on your windows.

Holiday gift ideas

The holidays are fast approaching, and reaching the end of your festive to-do list might feel like an enormous task. Between baking, writing cards, and attending all of those family get-togethers, you might find yourself thinking – “did I even finish buying presents?”

If you haven’t, don’t sweat. Rather than stocking up on the usual gift cards and chocolates, think outside the box and inside the home. Energy-saving gadgets can be fun and unexpected gifts for the loved ones in your life. Not only are you helping to do your part to save energy and the environment, but you’ll definitely earn some “cool” points from your friends and family.

Here are some energy-saving holiday gift ideas:

SMART THERMOSTAT

If you know someone that’s looking to automate their home, consider giving them a smart thermostat. These Wi-Fi connected thermostats can be controlled from your smart device whether you’re at home or halfway across the world. Features vary between brands, but many can learn from your behaviours to set a schedule, give you data about your home’s energy use, and communicate with other smart home devices and appliances.

SMART LED LIGHTING

Customizing the lighting system in your home has never been easier! Smart LED lighting systems connect to your Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and let you control your light functions and colour from your smart device. Some can even be synced to movies or music, so this is the perfect gift for the entertainment enthusiast in your life.

SMART PLUG

Smart plugs can be added to existing outlets to provide Wi-Fi connectivity. When you plug lamps, small appliances, or electronics into the smart plug, you can control their functions through your smart device. You might even want to scoop one up for yourself and use it for your holiday tree.

VIRTUAL ASSISTANT

Virtual assistants, like the Amazon Alexa and the Google Home, are a great way to coordinate the use of all your smart home devices. Turn down your thermostat, turn on your lights, and illuminate your tree, all just by using voice commands.

ADVANCED POWER STRIP

Do you have a friend or family member that has a bunch of entertainment gadgets? An advanced power strip might be just the thing they need. Electronics like gaming consoles and Blu-ray players still use some energy when left idle, and an advanced power strip can help to reduce or eliminate this standby power. Plug your TV into the master outlet and your connected devices into controlled outlets – when you shut the TV off, power will be cut to the other devices too.


Give the gift of energy savings this holiday season. Energy-saving devices will save money for years to come, so they’re truly gifts that keep on giving!

Efficiency Manitoba’s Three-Year Energy Efficiency Plan

We recently reached an exciting milestone – filing our very first three-year plan with the Public Utilities Board. This plan contains details about programs and initiatives that we’d like to offer to Manitobans to help you save energy, money, and the environment. You can imagine we’re pretty excited about this.

You may be wondering: what are we planning on doing? Here’s a quick overview.

Thumbnail of 3-Year Energy Efficiency Plan highlights infographic.

Highlights from the 3-Year Energy Efficiency Plan. (PDF, 932 KB)

We will provide exceptional customer service.

We appreciate that no two Manitobans are alike. From homeowners to small businesses to industry, everyone uses energy differently. That’s why we’ve put forward a diverse set of rebates, financing programs, and initiatives that are tailored to Manitobans. It’s important to make sure that our offers are simple and inclusive. And if you need expert advice, knowledgeable staff will be ready to help.

We will help Manitobans save.

Empowering you to save energy is our number one priority. The cumulative electric savings achieved in this plan will power over 76,000 homes for one year, and the natural gas savings will reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking 5,000 cars off the road for one year. By achieving these savings, over $18 million will go back into the pockets of Manitobans like you. Energy savings also reduce the province’s growing energy needs and delay expensive investments in new generation, transmission, and distribution infrastructure.

We will collaborate with Manitobans.

While developing the plan, we did a lot of listening to customers and delivery partners. This helped us design an inclusive set of offers and resources tailored to Manitoba’s climate, people, and businesses. We’ll ask for feedback on an ongoing basis so that we continue to provide value and serve the needs of Manitobans.

We will provide benefits to the Manitoba economy.

Efficiency Manitoba supports the energy efficiency economy. Our offers will create opportunities for skilled trades, energy advocates, and communities. In fact, over 85% of our annual budget will be returned to Manitobans in the form of customer incentives and through our work with energy efficiency delivery partners. This promotes more productive and clean economic growth.


Visit the Public Utilities Board’s website to read more about our three-year plan.

Efficiency Manitoba files first three-year Efficiency Plan

New Crown corporation looks forward to helping Manitobans save energy, money, and the environment

Efficiency Manitoba, Manitoba’s new Crown corporation focused on energy efficiency, has filed its first three-year Efficiency Plan with the Public Utilities Board. The plan outlines the path forward for Efficiency Manitoba to achieve legislated energy savings targets.

Efficiency Manitoba has a mandate to develop and support energy efficiency initiatives reducing provincial consumption of electricity by 1.5% and natural gas by 0.75% annually. The plan put forward achieves those targets which are designed to cost effectively contribute to meeting Manitobans’ needs for energy while helping reduce the impact of energy rate increases.

“We’re very proud to submit our three-year plan for energy efficiency in Manitoba,” said Colleen Kuruluk, CEO of Efficiency Manitoba. “Building on a strong foundation, we are moving forward with an exciting new future in energy efficiency; we look forward to helping Manitobans save energy, money and the environment.”

The filing of this first three-year efficiency plan initiates the Public Utilities Board (PUB) review process in anticipation of Efficiency Manitoba’s official commencement date of April 1, 2020. The review process will include a public hearing following which the PUB will provide a report and recommendations for review, comment and approval by the Minister.

Members of the public can share their views on Efficiency Manitoba’s plan by way of a written comment, oral presentation or as an approved intervener. Further information is available on the PUB Website Those parties interested in intervening must submit the intervener application to PUB by 12:00 p.m. October 31, 2019. Those parties interested in presenting at the public hearing must submit the presenter application to PUB before November 29, 2019.

“While meeting expectations set out in the legislation and mandate letter, Efficiency Manitoba will make a positive difference in the lives of Manitobans” said Kuruluk. “This includes improving home comfort and lowering energy costs. Businesses implementing energy efficient initiatives will also see reduced operating costs and increased competitiveness.”

Program enhancements and new offerings are outlined in the three-year plan which will assist in driving the increased level of savings mandated through legislation. The plan also sees continuation of programs that cost effectively achieve enduring savings while meeting customer and industry expectations for stable program offerings.

Contractors, suppliers, service providers and communities will be integral to delivery of three-year plan, providing nearly all of Efficiency Manitoba’s in field support for products and services. Including customer incentives, the three-year plan sees over 85 percent of Efficiency Manitoba’s budget flowing into local partners and service providers working with the organization to deliver programs and services.

Kuruluk said the submission of the plan is the culmination of extensive work and input from diverse representation on Efficiency Manitoba’s Energy Efficiency Advisory Group. “We extend sincere appreciation to our Advisory Group and other Manitobans engaging with us so far. We look forward to ongoing collaboration and continuing to build on the strong culture of energy efficiency in Manitoba”.


For more information or to arrange an interview with Efficiency Manitoba CEO Colleen Kuruluk, please contact:

Dori Chudobiak
T: 204-791-5379
Dori.Chudobiak@EfficiencyMB.ca

Save energy at home this fall

The days are getting shorter, the kids are back in school, and everything is suddenly pumpkin spiced. These are just some of the tell-tale signs that fall is here! Here are some of our top energy saving tips to make sure your home is just as ready for sweater weather as you are.

Fall energy efficiency tips:

  1. Have your furnace serviced to be sure it’s operating efficiently. Change the filter, too.
  2. Lower the temperature on your thermostat at night and when you’re not at home. This is especially easy to do with a programmable or smart thermostat.
  3. Stop air leakage in its tracks by caulking and sealing gaps around windows, doors, baseboards, and electrical outlets.
  4. If you have a wood fireplace, make sure the damper is closed when you’re not using your fireplace. This way, warm air won’t escape up your chimney.
  5. Use window insulating kits on the insides of your windows. They’re easy to install, relatively inexpensive, and help to reduce chilly drafts.
  6. Install LED bulbs. They use up to 80 per cent less electricity and last up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
  7. Let the light in! Keep window blinds open during the day to take advantage of the sun’s warm rays.
  8. Properly using your natural gas equipment and appliances is important. For added safety, install a carbon monoxide (CO) detector that can alert you to dangerous levels of CO gas.
  9. Clean your vents, radiators, and baseboard heating so air flows efficiently.
  10. Adjust your HRV control to match your ventilation needs. Also remember to adjust the humidity control seasonally.

Save energy at work this fall

Fall is a season of change, from the leaves turning red and gold to the geese flying south. Now is a great time to consider how you’re using energy around your workplace and make some changes of your own! Here are our top tips to get your workplace ready for the cooler weather.

Fall energy efficiency tips:

  1. Make sure your window vents are clear of paper and other clutter so that air can circulate freely. As much as 25 percent more energy is required to distribute air if your vents are blocked.
  2. Want to reduce your lighting expenses by 10 to 40 percent? Open your blinds to make the best use of natural daylight, and take advantage of skylights and other natural light sources.
  3. Make a habit of turning off the lights whenever you leave a room.
  4. Fight off energy vampires! Unplug electronics when you’re not actively using them and when you’re away from work for an extended period of time.
  5. Electronics use more energy if you leave them running instead of turning them on and off as needed. Be sure to turn equipment, computers, monitors, photocopiers and appliances off when they are not in use.
  6. Host daily, weekly, or monthly office challenges by encouraging your coworkers to adopt an energy-efficient behaviour. This is a fun way to get everyone engaged in the cause!

Social Contest Facebook Answers

In April, we partnered with manufacturers and retailers to offer our followers some amazing prizes.

Thank you to everyone who participated in our contests. We had a lot of fun reading all the great comments.

Thank you to the following manufacturers and retailers for donating the prizes!

Manufacturer and Retailer logos for Nest, Honeywell Home, Ecobee, Philips, The Home Depot, Emerson, Luminus, and Robinson Lighting.

To enter on Facebook, customers had to answer questions related to the prizes being given away. Check out some of the responses to our questions below.

TOTAL NUMBER OF ENTRIES IN OUR APRIL SOCIAL MEDIA CONTESTS:


OVER
17K!

WE ASKED:
“WHAT TEMPERATURE DO YOU KEEP YOUR HOME AT?”


YOU SAID:
DAY: 20°C
NIGHT: 19°C

Tips

Adjust your thermostat at night and when you’re not at home. In winter, lower the temperature by 3°C or more for at least 8 hours a day to save up to 4% on heating costs.

Use a smart thermostat. It can be controlled remotely to set and adjust the climate of your home. It can also learn from your schedule and sense when you’re home and adjust the temperature accordingly.

Great work!

The majority of our followers keep their furnaces in tip-top shape. Check out the numbers.

Graph showing 55% of people change their furnace filter every 3 months, and 50% of people have their furnace maintained every 12 months.

Tip

Schedule regular maintenance for your heating and cooling equipment. They will last longer and run more efficiently. Don’t forget to change the furnace air filter every 3 months.

WE ASKED:
“WHAT LIGHT FIXTURE WOULD YOU UPGRADE FIRST IN YOUR HOME?”


YOU SAID:
DINING ROOM

WE ASKED:
“WHAT ARE THE TOP MOVIES TO WATCH WITH SMART HOME LIGHTING?”


YOU SAID:
STAR WARS
AVENGERS
HARRY POTTER