Anyone who lives here knows there’s always great stuff happening in Bethesda. Add to that list Savenia Labs, a small start-up company making a big environmental impact.
The company was started by John Jabara, a Bethesda resident, to provide consumers with the energy cost of operating various household appliances. A few years ago John was in the market for a coffeemaker and wanted to know not only how much energy it used, but also the long-term cost to both himself and the environment of using the different units on the market. Because this information wasn’t readily available, he started a company that could provide it.
Jabara states that an energy-efficient toaster can reduce 1200 pounds of carbon dioxide over six years, and a house filled with such appliances “would reduce the environmental impact by 20,000 pounds of carbon dioxide over the same period.” According to Jabara, this equals about 154 tanker trucks full of pollution that won’t get into the environment.
Headquartered at Bethesda Green, Savenia puts products through a 10-step test process to determine the true cost of operating the appliance. This includes market research, how much an appliance is used, and the energy consumption of a typical user. But they then go on to also study how far an item travels to get to a store and if packaging is made of recycled content, which also have an environmental impact. Oh, and they also test that the products perform their essential functions, like making coffee.
Savenia has tested over 200 appliances to date including coffeemakers, toaster ovens and microwaves—items that Energy Star does not cover. Jabara hopes that his energy rating system will push manufacturers to produce products with better energy-saving capacities.
Because the lab is independent and also independently funded, they don’t accept donations from manufacturers and buy all the products they test. Jabra envisions his profits coming from the sale of Savenia’s ratings to retailers, letting them use his labels in their stores.
There’s currently a display of Savenia’s energy-rated products in Bethesda and Silver Spring at Strosniders Hardware Stores, and it’s drawn a lot of interest from the public. Most people are very interested in choosing an energy-efficient product.
Bethesda Green and the College Park area are known for supporting and encouraging new businesses that promote sustainable living practices. This is just another reason why Bethesda is one of the greatest places in the country to call home.
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