Re: Re: Is building green, green or is it light gray
From: Cynthia Armistead (
Date: Tue, 5 Oct 2004 08:00:53 -0700 (PDT)
Duncan Cavens wrote:
Hi everyone,

This is a very relevant question to my partner and I right now: our home in Roberts Creek Cohousing (near Vancouver, B.C.) will be finished at the end of the month. We've been trying to figure out the environmental benefits/costs about buying new energy efficient appliances vs. buying slightly used appliances. I've done a lot of searching, but have not been able to find any information other than factsheetsfrom Federal Energy authorities that seem to only promote the appliance manufacturers (i.e. "current appliances are twice as efficient as appliances from 10 years ago".)

While this information is useful, I'd like to know what the impacts are of manufacturing a new stove, shipping it halfway across the country, and what the impacts are of disposing/recycling of the old appliance that we wouldn't be buying on the second-hand market (we don't currently own any appliances.) My gut feeling is that the net impact of making a new appliance (fridge/stove/etc.) far outweigh the environmental benefits of a new appliance, but I have no way of figuring this out. Money isn't really the issue (although slightly used models run for about 1/4 to 1/8 the cost of new.)

Does anyone have any insight / resources/ etc. on this topic?

Hi there! I've been lurking 'til now.

I don't really think you need to worry about the appliance that you might have bought. In my experience, they do find new homes. I've never simply discarded one - even those that weren't working at the time were usually repairable. Local Freecycle groups are absolutely marvelous for rehoming appliances and just about anything else ( ).

We recently bought a new dishwasher because the old one just wasn't working well enough. We'd end up running one load through several times, or I would essentially hand-wash everything and then put them in the D/W. Both were very wasteful (and hard on my hands).

It was better to simply buy a new, more efficient dishwasher. The old one went to someone who could and would fix it. We're saving water, the gas to heat it, and time.


cyn [at]

"I am learning all the time.  The tombstone will be my diploma."
--Eartha Kitt

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