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Efficient appliances score big in other ways, too

They perform better than older versions, and in some cases cost less to boot

Planning to take advantage of a Memorial Day sale to buy a new appliance?

As you prepare to plunk down a hefty amount, keep this encouraging news from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy in mind:

Newer appliances are not only more efficient, they also perform the same or better while including a large number of new features, the council says.

In some cases, they even cost less. If they don't, in time, the energy savings will make up the difference.

"Everyone knows that replacing your old appliance with a new, more efficient model will save you money on your utility bills," said Steven Nadel, ACEEE executive director, in a press release. "What this report shows is that consumers haven't had to sacrifice good performance or new features in exchange for improved efficiency."

All this is in its new report, "Better Appliances: An Analysis of Performance, Features, and Price as Efficiency Has Improved."

Looking at efficiency alone, the report found that a house with new versions these major appliances — refrigerator, clothes washer & dryer, dishwasher, central air conditioner — plus a toilet, will spend $360 less on its utility bills than a household with similar products that are 20 years old.

An example of how they're better: Refrigerator temperature performance has improved and noise levels have dropped over time, the report noted.