Saturday, August 14, 2010

It's Not Easy Being Green

Grandma had a Frigidaire like the model advertised in this video clip. It was older than me and when Grandma moved out of her big house in 1984 we took the fridge and put it in our basement. We sold it in 1987 when we moved to another house and I wouldn't be surprised if it is still humming along keeping someone's drinks cold on this hot summer day. We are told that old appliances use huge amounts of electricity and efficient models are ENERGY STAR rated by the Canadian government's Office of Energy Efficiency. Being conscientious citizens, we gradually replaced our old appliances with pricey, but environmentally friendly ones.

The Becka informed me this morning that our six year old front loading Kenmore washer was making an odd metallic sound. The sound needed a professional assessment and the polite serviceman gave the machine a prognosis of about two months. He balanced the drum on its broken support and I paid him $90 plus HST. Apparently this model has a life expectancy of five to eight years and breaks down on average six months after the warranty period is over.

Green is a very expensive colour. Hybrid cars cost more than any gas savings accumulated over several years. Solar power and wind power options are over-regulated and over-priced. My front load washer supposedly saved me water and detergent, but not enough to afford a new machine in such a short period of time. Is the environment improved with ENERGY STAR appliances stacked up in the local garbage dump?

Grandma's colour TV is in our living room. It was over ten years old when she died in 1990. We have used it for twenty years. It has thirty channels and I bet it will last longer than the two year old flat screen TV in the the family room.
Our first low flush toilet was installed last fall when we did major renovations. We are told by powers that be that "the new lower flow toilets have been mandated to save precious and limited resources." Our high boy model is good for bad knees but any substantial deposits in the unit require at least two flushes for complete removal. I am not sure what precious resources it is trying to save.

So now we have to shop for another washing machine. Cement washboards are standard in the laundry areas of Mexican homes. Perhaps a portable washboard would be better as it can also be used as a musical instrument. Mom had a wringer washer until the 1970s but they are no longer in production. But I found this very efficient model online. It has all the benefits of a wringer washer and a gym membership. And I would have to take Mondays off work to do the laundry.

Here is Becka's take on this story. She posted a video of our exact problem.


  1. The older my appliances, and RV for that matter, the longer it lasts. I hate this new throw away society. That's not green it's just shoddy products. Yet somehow I don't see doing laundry that way.

  2. I had to have my ice maker in my refrigerator serviced a few weeks back and the technician told me that the quality of appliances today pales in comparison to the older models. We may be "greener" but like you said, if we are replacing them every few years, there will be a graveyard of "green things" in the landfills.

  3. What's that saying..."they just don't make things like they use to." This is so true from cars to a toaster. I watched the youtube video on The Becka's blog...that is a scary thought that my own front load washing machine can go in the next year or two. The video certainly makes the above statement true. They can say that it's energy efficient all they want, but do we really know. I think most business think about their pocketbook more then saving energy. The only energy efficient washing machine is the washboard, a tub and clothes line.

  4. The water thing causes me to shake my head a little. Canada has one-third of the whole world's freshwater. I suppose the idea of conserving is good, but I need my toilets to flush, and I want to actually get wet in my shower. I'll try to keep showers shorter, but I do want to get wet.

  5. Some of these so called energy savings may not be quite what they are supposed to be.Food for thought,at least.

  6. This is funny...especially about the toilet :) I watched a short documentary called...I think..."The Story of Stuff". It CLEARLY had an angle and was laced throughout more with the creators ideas and own convictions than concrete facts BUT it was interesting to hear about the progression towards INTENTIONALLY creating products, large and small, that DO NOT last, to boost the economy. What's the answer though??

  7. Planned obsolescence--it is so annoying. I read the Becka's take and watched the video. All I can say is--oh my.
    So, do we keep older less efficient things that don't break or buy newer more efficient things that break?

  8. When I bought a DVD player a few years ago, the salesman said we'd be lucky to get a couple yrs from it - a disposable society!

  9. Anonymous5:49 pm GMT-4

    Thanks for the smiles, and trip back in time. There is a lot of irony in the way society tries to conserve energy. The one that troubles me the most is not allowing clothes lines in high class neighbourhoods. Guess if you can afford it you don't have to be real about your actions. You only have to go back a generation to find all kinds of ways to reduce reuse, recycle in ways that would make your head spin.
    Love your blogs, keepum coming.

  10. My grandmother insisted on having those open tub style washing machines right up until she died.She only had to replace it once and at that time needed to order it from out west and have it shipped in because they didn't make thenm any more.


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