In 1980, appliances consumed 60 percent of a home’s energy use. That number is down to a staggering 20 percent in 2013. Sure, a part of the change in ratio has to do with an increase in use of personal electronics, but appliance manufacturers have also made tremendous strides in increasing the efficiency of the appliances we depend on. According to Ron Voglewede, North American Sustainability Lead at Whirlpool Corporation, speaking at Sustainable Brands, modern refrigerators now use the same amount of power as a 60 watt lightbulb.
These efficiency improvements are great, but Whirlpool wanted to do more to help consumers connect to their energy consumption.
That’s why they decided to team up with Ford on the MyEnergi Lifestyle project.
Despite its complicated name, MyEnergi Lifestyle is actually quite a simple concept. The project’s goal is to give consumers feedback on their energy consumption. Simply making users aware of their consumption can bring energy use down, by making customers aware of what is running (unnecessarily) and when.
These smart appliances don’t just communicate with personal electronics, they can also tap into the smart grid. Appliances (and electric vehicles!) can communicate with the grid to decide when it’s an optimal time to charge up. This means your dishwasher can start at 2 am when power is cheaper and often cleaner, and you’ll still have clean dishes for breakfast.
According to the Georgia Institute of Technology, this technology can reduce a home’s energy use by 60 percent and energy costs by 50 percent. John Viera, Chief Sustainability Officer at Ford, emphasized, “This isn’t some Star Wars in-the-future technology, this is available right now.”
Find out more about this partnership and the potential it creates for energy savings in the video interview with John Viera, Ford’s Director of Sustainability.