News Releases

Sierra Pacific Customers Recycle 1,273 Old Refrigerators and Freezers

Nov 27, 2005

Contact: Karl Walquist (775) 834-3891

Northern Nevada residents responded enthusiastically to Sierra Pacific Power Company's 2005 Refrigerator and Freezer Recycling Program, according to John Hargrove, energy efficiency project manager for the utility. The program ended in November

Electric customers in the utility's northern Nevada â€" Lake Tahoe area service territory recycled 1,273 appliances and earned $38,190 in incentives. By recycling these older, less energy efficient refrigerators and freezers, they are saving 1,965,512 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, or enough energy to serve approximately450 homes for a year, Hargrove said.

As a result of the program, more than 130 tons of metal and plastic were recycled.

Sierra Pacific representatives picked up the refrigerators and freezers free of charge and the company paid customers $30 per appliance for those in working condition. Up to two appliances per household could be recycled.

Sierra Pacific partnered with JACO Environmental of Snohomish, Washington, to offer electric customers the opportunity to discard their old refrigerators in an environmentally friendly manner. Hargrove said JACO's recycling process has been recognized by the United Nations for its efficiency and effectiveness. The process keeps 98 percent of the appliance components -- refrigerant (mostly Freon), metals, glass, plastics and foam -- out of landfills while ensuring that any hazardous materials are safely destroyed.*

The program was introduced three years ago and has quickly become one of Sierra Pacific's most utilized conservation efforts. A total of 2,500 refrigerators and freezers were recycled in 2003 and 2004.

New Recycling Facility Planned

“The program has been so successful that we've increased it every year and we expect to ask state utility regulators for approval to expand the program significantly in 2006,” Hargrove said. “In addition, JACO expects to open a new recycling facility in southern Nevada , which will contribute to the state's economy.”

In 2005, Las Vegas area customers of Sierra Pacific's sister company, Nevada Power, recycled 2,950 refrigerators and freezers through the program.

The energy savings realized from this program and other energy efficiency gains helps reduce the company's total electric demand, reducing the amount of electricity that has to be produced at the company's power plants or purchased from other suppliers.

Hargrove said the average refrigerator or freezer manufactured before 1985 consumes about 1,500 kilowatt-hours (kWh) annually, costing over $100 a year to run.

Federal energy-efficiency standards have gotten stricter. New refrigerators and freezers are now more energy efficient, using approximately 450 kWh per year. Sierra Pacific is also encouraging customers to buy Energy Star appliances, which can be up to 20 percent more efficient than the federal standard.

Customers can expect to save $150 - $200 in energy costs annually if they replace refrigerators that are 10-years-old or older with newer, more energy-efficient models.

To receive information on Energy Star appliances, energy conservation tips, or to get involved in any of Sierra Pacific's many conservation programs, log on towww.sierrapacific.comor call (775) 834-3600.

*Editors note: During 2004, the following quantities of materials were recycled from the 1,273 refrigerators and freezers collected from Sierra Pacific's electric customers:
Freon (and other refrigerants)â€" 9,331 ounces
Metal - 235,505 lbs. (117.7 tons)
Glass - 1,909 lbs.
Plastic - 25,460 lbs. (12.7 tons)
Foam - 12,093 lbs. (6 tons)