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Energy-efficient refrigerators, washers eligible for new rebates

Customers looking for a little extra incentive to buy a more energy-efficient appliance may get it, beginning Sept. 2.

Under the "Buy Green, Save Green NYS High-Efficiency Appliance Rebate Program," the state Energy Research and Development Authority has $3 million available for residential rebates on high-efficiency refrigerators and washing machines. The program is similar to last year's "New York State Great Appliance Swap-Out" except it excludes dishwashers and freezers, and removes rebates encouraging recycling.

The program offers rebates of $350 for high-efficiency refrigerators and $250 for high-efficiency washers. To qualify, the appliances must meet Consortium for Energy Efficiency superefficiency levels.

"[Superefficient appliances] are more efficient, and they cost less," said Marty Gregoire, customer relations manager at Orville's Home Appliances in Lancaster. "If you can cut the costs of even one or two [appliances], it's a great saving of energy."

Efficient washing machines use 10 to 25 gallons of water, Gregoire said. Non-efficient appliances use about 45 gallons per load. The more efficient models also use less energy, saving up to $135 a year.

The refrigerators are at least 20 percent more efficient than standard models, Gregoire said. This makes a big difference over the eight-to-10-year appliance life span.

These rebates, like any other, increase foot traffic at Orville's, Gregoire said.

"I think they have a great impact. It gives a little bit more incentive for somebody to pull the trigger on their sale," he said. "When [the rebates] happen, we definitely see a huge jump."

Some people come in to the store to buy; others come to shop prices, Gregoire said. And state rebate programs allow buyers to double dip, since they also can receive rebates from appliance manufacturers.

The "Buy Green, Save Green" program is expected to be just as successful as the "New York State Great Appliance Swap-Out," Francis Murray Jr., president and CEO of the state agency, said in a news release. The swap-out reached more than 165,000 homes before the $16 million in rebates was used up in March.

"We were shocked when we were notified that this new program is coming," Gregoire said. "There's a limited number of funds, and customers need to know to act on it."

To qualify for some of the "Buy Green, Save Green" rebates, a website will be set up before the start of the program, or customers can call (877) NY-SMART -- (877) 697-6278.