Maryland residents offered cash in exchange for wasteful appliances

Apparently that old second refrigerator in the garage isn't worth the extra storage space after all when the bills are added up at the end of the month. A new program is being developed to help Marylanders unload these unneeded appliances and save a little money.

Potomac Edison, one of Maryland's largest energy providers, and JACO Environmental, a local recycling company, have teamed up to entice Maryland homeowners into letting them recycle appliances built before 1990 that could be unnecessarily running up their home's electric bill.

The program targets refrigerators that are used as back-ups in basements and garages after a homeowner replaces the appliance with a newer model in the kitchen. Mostly underused, these older models consume up to three times as much electricity as newer ones, making their necessity hard to justify.

"Once you realize how much money you can save, it really doesn't make much sense to keep another refrigerator running in the garage" said Ruth Bruening of Frederick, Maryland in a news release. Bruening's house was one of the first to take advantage of the program.

Homeowners receive a $50 rebate from the energy provider, and could potentially save up to $150 annually on their electric bill, according to estimates from Potomac Edison.

Under the guidelines of the program, JACO Environmental will pick up an appliance from a participating household and then beneficially recycle 95 percent of the parts at their facility, while properly disposing of any hazardous components.

This program follows several local and national initiatives that have contributed to making Maryland more energy efficient. The state is currently part of the federal government's Better Buildings Challenge, an effort to increase energy efficiency nationwide.

Locally, initiatives like Project Lightbulb, which exchanges halogen bulbs with more efficient LED and CFL in homes throughout the Baltimore area, have been enacted, along with an increase in energy efficient home construction statewide.

For residents looking to do their part in making Maryland more energy efficient, an energy audit from a home inspection contractor can show where waste is occurring in your home and highlight ways to correct it.