PECO's Refrigerator Recycling Program


When Pennsylvanians get new, energy-efficient refrigerators for their homes, old refrigerators often get relegated to a support role in garages or basements. After all, the old models still work, and they can be used to chill drinks and snacks for a basement game room or for bulk-purchased foods that homeowners hadn’t bought before because they lacked the space.

Some consumers like to use things — cars, televisions, home appliances — as long as they can because they take pride in making things last, and, besides, they reason, smart consumers get value for their purchases and don’t buy something if they don’t need it.

There are a lot of old refrigerators out there as a result of this philosophy, and many of them are 20, 30, or even 40 years old. In fact, there are more than 27 million pre-1993 refrigerators still in use, and about 26 percent of all U.S. homes have a second refrigerator, according to 2009 study by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Unfortunately, old refrigerators that keep on working are a big problem for consumers, as well as for utilities, which are trying to avoid having to build new power plants to handle the growing demand for electricity. Old refrigerators are terribly inefficient, and can use up to four times the amount of energy as a modern, energy-efficient model for the same amount of cooling. Hanging on to that old refrigerator costs consumers a lot of money — between $150 and $200 a year — and pulls a lot of electricity from power grids like the one owned by Pennsylvania utility PECO Energy Co.

PECO Helping Customers Save Energy

Thankfully, PECO’s new Smart Appliance Recycling program helps customers start saving energy and saving money on monthly bills by giving them $35 for their old refrigerators. The utility will even send a truck to pick it up and have it shipped to a “demanufacturing” facility in Hatfield that sucks out the harmful refrigerant for responsible disposal and prepares the 150 pounds of metal, 25 pounds of plastic, and 3 pounds of glass in an average refrigerator for recycling.

In its first year of operation, the facility has recycled 50,000 refrigerators with an average age of 22 years. Demanufacturing those refrigerators saved 85,000 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 7,000 homes for a year, according to Jaco Environmental, the company that runs the Hatfield facility.

So far, PECO’s Smart Appliance Recycling program has helped customers of the utility recycle 15,662 old refrigerators at the facility, which saved 27,000 megawatt-hours of electricity, the equivalent of planting 30,000 trees or taking 30 million miles of automobile driving off the books, according to PECO spokeswoman Cathy Engel.

PECO’s Smart Appliance Recycling program will also pay customers $35 to recycle freezers and $10 to recycle room air conditioners.

PECO Smart Appliance Recycling Program Requirements

There are several requirement that need to be met in order to qualify for PECO’s Smart Appliance Recycling Program:

  • Homeowners must be PECO customers
  • Refrigerator and freezer size must be between 10 and 30 cubic feet
  • Units must be empty and working when they are picked up
  • In order to be picked up, units must be accessible by the removal team by a clear and safe path
  • Removal teams won’t risk injury, modify homes (remove doors and railings), or remove personal effects to remove units


GreenSpace: Cold War on the Inefficient Old Fridge,” The Philadelphia Enquirer, March 21, 2011.

PECO Smart Ideas website, “PECO Smart Appliance Recycling.”

Energy-Efficiency Rebates and Services in Connecticut

If you’re a Connecticut electric customer and have your electricity delivered by Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P), you can take advantage of several energy-efficiency rebates and energy-efficiency services that are designed to help you save money off monthly electric bills.

All residential and commercial electric customers in the utility’s service territory are eligible for the energy-saving programs, even if they buy their electricity from an alternative supplier such as Spark Energy.

All programs are supported by the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund and administered by CL&P unless otherwise noted.

Home Energy Solutions program

Under the Home Energy Solutions (HES) program, a specialist will perform an energy assessment of your home, whether you rent or own, and provide information on ways you can lower your energy bills. HES specialists often look at how your home is sealed against air leaks, how your appliances use energy and how efficient your lighting is. There are three HES programs, including a basic and advanced energy assessment, and an assessment for low-income households.

Quality Installation and Verification program

Not every air conditioner, heat pump or furnace has been installed correctly. In fact, ENERGY STAR estimates that more than half of all HVAC systems suffer from poor performance due to installation issues. The Quality Installation and Verification (QIV) program ensures that your HVAC equipment is installed for the best performance and reliability, which can lead to lower energy bills, increased reliability, longer equipment life, improved indoor air quality and improved comfort.

ENERGY STAR–qualified retail products

Electric customers are eligible for rebates on ENERGY STAR–qualified lighting products and appliances through the utility’s ENERGY STAR Retail Products programs. The programs provide retail incentives and markdowns, which are offered on “marked” products in stores that have already been discounted. Products include lighting fixtures, CFL and LED light bulbs, clothes washers, dehumidifiers, dishwashers, refrigerators/freezers and air conditioners.

Residential new home construction rebates

When building a new home, utility customers can take advantage of the Residential New Home Construction Program. The utility will provide a program manager to help you through the application process and ensure that you receive all your eligible program benefits. Eligibility requirements for the programs mandate that a new construction incentive application must be submitted before a home is insulated.

Multi-family properties

The multi-family program helps owners of new constructions or existing buildings that house multiple tenants participate in various energy-efficiency rebate and services programs offered by utilities. Buildings are considered multi-family if they have more than three connected units, mixed use within the same building, or if they fall under the control of a property manager, association or housing authority. Examples of eligible buildings include apartment complexes, dorms and assisted living facilities.

High efficiency HVAC system rebate

CL&P offers a $250 cash rebate for qualifying energy-efficient central air conditioning systems or heat pump systems. Qualifying systems must be installed by March 1, 2012 and may garner additional incentives by participating in the QIV program.

Heat pump water heater rebate

You may be eligible for a $400 cash rebate if you replace your old, inefficient electric water heater with an efficient heat pump water heater. Qualifying systems must be ENERGY STAR-qualified with an Energy Factor of 2.0 or greater and must be installed before December 31, 2011.

Ductless heat pumps and geothermal systems

Utility customers who are heating their homes with electric baseboards or wall heaters, or who are building new homes and want a better way to control the temperature, can benefit from noticeable energy savings by installing energy-efficient ductless heat pump systems or geothermal systems. Systems are eligible for substantial rebates from CL&P in additional to significant federal tax credits.

Solar photovoltaic systems

Residential, nonprofit and governmental utility customers interested in installing solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in their homes or buildings are eligible for rebates from the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund (now part of the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority) that cover a percentage of installation and equipment costs. Rebates are offered through designated participating solar PV installers.

Midnight turn-off option for street lights

If you have streetlights on your property, owned either by you or CL&P, you may receive a rebate from the utility if you agree to install a programmable photocell that will ensure the street lights operate only between dusk and midnight.

For more information about energy-efficiency rebates and service programs for CL&P customers, visit the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund at, the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund at or call 877-WISE-USE (877-947-3873).


Connecticut Light & Power, “Home Services and Rebates.”

Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund

Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority

Popular New York Appliance Rebate Program Ends After Just Five Days

Wednesday September 21, 2011
Posted at 08:12

A mere five days after launching, a New York state program encouraging residents to purchase energy-efficiency appliances that could help them save money on monthly electric bills has ended.

The Buy Green, Save Green New York State High Efficiency Appliance Rebate Program launched Sept. 2 with $3 million in rebate incentive funds from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). Under the program, consumers qualified for $350 rebates on high-efficiency refrigerators and $250 rebates on high-efficiency clothes washers.

The original $3 million in funding for the popular program, which offered rebates on a first come, first served basis, began to run low over the weekend, so it received another infusion of $500,000 from NYSERDA. However, by 4 p.m. Sunday, the entire $3.5 million was exhausted.

A waiting list of about 3,000 people has been created in case other consumers fail to complete paperwork needed to qualify for the rebates. A similar program by NYSERDA last year, New York’s Great Appliance Swap Out, offered $16 million in rebate funding and lasted four months longer than anticipated. The program was further extended after more than 25,000 consumers failed to claim their rebates.

NYSERDA has received 14,642 rebate applications for the Buy Green, Save Green program. Applicants who have completed an online or phone application are now instructed to mail their applications, complete with original purchase receipt, to the rebate processing center as soon as possible.

Applicants can check their status at or by calling 877.NY.SMART (877.697.6278).


Energy-Efficient Appliance Funds Exhausted After Only Five Days,” The Buffalo News, Sept. 8, 2011.

New York Offers New Rebates for Energy-Efficient Appliances Beginning Today

Friday September 2, 2011
Posted at 08:15

New York is offering a new rebate program to help residents buy energy efficient appliances

New York residents are getting an extra incentive to buy energy-efficiency appliances that could help them save money on monthly electric bills.

As part of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s (NYSERDA) “Buy Green, Save Green NYS High-Efficiency Appliance Rebate Program,” $3 million has been set aside for residential rebates on energy-efficient refrigerators and clothes washers that will be available to shoppers beginning today, September 2.

The program is similar to last year’s “New York State Great Appliance Swap-Out,” but it excludes dishwashers and freezers and doesn’t provide rebates for recycling.

Under the program, New York residents qualify for $350 rebates on high-efficiency refrigerators and $250 on high-efficiency washing machines that are ENERGY STAR–certified and meet super-efficiency levels determined by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE). Super-efficiency appliances use significantly less electricity than the levels set by federal standards and represent the highest tier of ENERGY STAR efficiency levels.

Residents looking to maximize their savings will be able to double-dip by combining rebates from the state program with rebates from appliance manufacturers.

According to Marty Gregoire, customer relations manager at Orville’s Home Appliances in Lancaster, qualifying washing machines use 10 to 25 gallons of water per load, compared with 45 gallons per load for non-efficient models, and can save up to $135 a year in combined water and electricity savings.

Gregoire also said that qualifying refrigerators are at least 20 percent more efficient than standard models, which could make for considerable savings off monthly electric bills. According to CEE, refrigerators are a major source of electricity consumption in most households, making up about 15 percent of all residential electricity usage.

The Buy Green, Save Green program is expected to be just as successful as the New York State Great Appliance Swap-Out, said Francis Murray Jr., NYSERDA president and CEO. During the swap-out, 165,148 households took advantage of the program before the $16 million pool of rebate funds had run dry. In all, 169,866 appliances were replaced with 57,635 ENERGY STAR–certified appliances, which are 30 percent more efficient than standard models.

Gregoire said that New York residents should act quickly to take advantage of the Buy Green, Save Green program, as the $3 million worth of rebates set aside for the program won’t last long.

Rebates for the Buy Green, Save Green program will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications are available on a special website, New Yorkers can also get applications, as well as more information about the Buy Green, Save Green program, by calling (877) 697-6278.

For more information about super-efficient refrigerators and clothes washers, visit

Spark Energy

If you respond to the poll, let us know in the comments why you answered one way or the other.


NYSERDA Announces New $3 Million Residential Appliance Rebate Program to Begin Sept. 2, 2011,” New York State Energy Research and Development Authority press release, Aug. 24, 2011.

Energy-Efficient Refrigerators, Washers Eligible for New Rebates,” The Buffalo News, Aug. 25, 2011.