The Consumer Electronics Show held recently in Las Vegas showcased some of the devices leading the way to the next generation of energy efficiency. Among the equipment on display: Super-efficient lightbulbs, fans, dryers and more. Some of the designs will stick around, others might not, but the show allowed consumers to at least catch a glimpse of a more environmentally-friendly future.

Bulbs, Fans and Dryers

Among the highlights of the show were hyper-efficient LED bulbs manufactured by a company called Stack Lighting. But LED isn’t a new technology, you say? True, but the Stack models automatically change their brightness to account for other light sources and human activity, resulting in what the company claims is a 60 to 80 percent savings in energy compared to standard LEDs.

Another firm, aptly named Big Ass Fans, claims to sell the most efficient ceiling fans in the world. Just like the LEDs, they have smart features that turn the fans on and off when humans enter and leave the room, in addition to boasting high-efficiency motors.

Major appliances showed up at the fair as well. Whirlpool had a dryer on display that the company claims uses 73 percent less energy than standard models because it reuses its hot air instead of dispersing it outside through the vent.

DVR, RAM and Windows

Not impressed yet? The CES Green Guide describes some of the other environmentally-friendly devices and gadgets at the show:

  • The DISH network has an ENERGY STAR-compliant receiver that allows you to use DVR functionality but with reduced electricity consumption.
  • Samsung has a product you probably don’t think of when you’re contemplating energy efficiency: RAM for your computer. Their “Green Memory” promises to give you more computing power for less energy.
  • There are some newfangled windows by a company named Pella that have blinds built in. The blinds automatically adjust to let light in or block it out, depending on the temperature and your preferences.

Hefty Price Tags

Like most cutting-edge technologies, the sticker prices of the equipment were sky-high. However, the purchasing costs should come down over time as more people adopt the technologies.

“You’ll see the price come down, you’ll see more entrants in the market," Carolyn Weiner, a Pacific Gas and Electric employee who specializes in energy efficiency incentives, told PRI. "It’s good that these companies are out there, because they’re starting to show that the technology exists.”

However, Weiner noted that companies often shy away from hawking the efficiency benefits of their products. It turns out that consumers’ attitudes and motivations regarding energy efficiency aren’t always straightforward, even if the prospect of saving money seems simple enough.

“They’re still looking at energy efficiency as 'I’m losing something,’” Weiner said to PRI. “More companies are leading with security, comfort, ease of use, which is the type of message that consumers want to hear right now.”

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