According to the article "New Law Signals Power Switch" at http://www.washingtonpost.com/ there will soon be a difference in home energy consumption through subtle changes in our home appliances and light bulbs. The article takes the reader step by step through the benefits (decreased carbon dioxide emissions from electricity use) and disadvantages (mercury waste) of fluorescent bulbs. It also mentions higher initial investment to the consumer but also the latter savings on electricity costs and from the long lifetime of the bulb.
The energy bill will bring about changes in home appliances, too, by changes in energy and water use. One appliance being the washing machine which, along with the dryer, is an appliance most Americans take for granted. The washing machine and dryer use great amounts of electricity (as does the refrigerator as mentioned by Dr. Webber this week during lecture) and many washing machines use more water than is neccessary. Manufacturers will begin turning to front loading washers, which use less water. While I think the changes will be useful, I wonder why it has taken us so long to catch on. From personal experience, Germans are years ahead of us in home appliances. Air drying clothes is more prevalent as are front loading washers. They also often use refrigerators much smaller than those in The States with more frequent trips to markets with in walking distance of many homes. While I do not know the impact of this on the electricity used by markets to store food, I do know that fewer foods are refrigerated in the markets with eggs stored at ambient temperature and milk commonly bought in cartons that do not require refrigeration until opened. Recyling is also much more prevalent. (More can be read on this at www.howtogermany.com .)
I was glad to see an article in a widely read newspaper that provides information in a concise manner on an example of personal energy consumption. Too often we leave changes to faceless companies.