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Appliances for the 100K House

by Chad Ludeman on June 19, 2008 · 26 comments

in Design,kitchen

The appliance list has been a work in progress for some time now. It’s no easy task trying to balance affordability, modern design and energy efficiency when searching for appliances. In keeping with our direction to spend more of the budget on the pieces that are harder to replace and will have the most impact on the energy efficiency of the home, we have devoted a decent chunk of the budget (~5%) to the appliances. Whether this list will stay the same or suffer changes due to budget reductions, I can’t say. For now here is our list that we are submitting to MaGrann today along with our HERS form.

Clothes Washer / Dryer

LG All-in-One Washer/Dryer WM3431 [$1,375 - $1,475]

LG All in one washer dryer combo imageThis washer/dryer unit is the same model that we have in our own flat. It’s compact, uses a normal 110V outlet and is ridiculously energy efficient. In my opinion, this beats all other options out there, hands down, for a small home that has energy efficiency high on it’s priority list. I also just realized today that it comes in a sweet titanium finish for an extra $100.

For all of those familiar with this model (or the similar Asko model), yes you must wash small loads and yes it takes 4 hours to complete a load. This has never been an issue for us as it requires only a slight modification to normal washing habits. Simply through a load in before you go to work or before you go to sleep and it will be done when you are home or conscious again.


Frigidaire 18.3 cubic feet GLHT184TJ [$650]

Frigidaire Budget SS Refrigerator ImageThe fridge is the biggest energy hog in the kitchen and therefore required some careful consideration. I actually considered splurging on this item for a short period to reduce energy usage until I realized that the cheap, small units out there are more energy efficient than the fancy, high-tech larger units that claim huge energy savings. No, it’s not the squarest or prettiest thing out there, but it’s not bad. Being that this is the easiest appliance to replace helped in the decision to go with a small, budget model as well.

For comparison, the economy Frigidaire model here uses 383 kWH’s per year and a the vast majority of the side-by-side, large fridges that everyone loves start in the 550-600 kWH range. Even the very expensive Liebherr models that are thin and sexy are pulling 433 kWH’s at only 15 cubit feet.


GE 30″ Electric Induction Cooktop ZHU30RBMBB [$1,500]

GE Monogram 30I went back and forth between gas and electric induction cooktops for a long time. Now that we will be living in the home, I really want to try out an induction model and see what the wife thinks as well for future homes. I keep hearing great things about induction, including the fact that top chefs are switching to them now.

Some of the great features about induction are as follows:

  • extremely energy efficient even compared to gas
  • flexibility and low cost of install compared to gas
  • 90 second boil with precise temperature control
  • cool surface when on increases safety over gas and traditional electric
  • no gas fumes makes a healthier chef and improves indoor air quality
  • sleek worktop greatly simplifies cleaning and allows it to double as a counter surface when not in use



IKEA MUMSIG OBI built in oven imageWhat do I like about this oven? It’s by far the cheapest built-in oven I could find and one of the few 24″ models available that would fit better in our small house. It also has great industrial design and packs a lot of features into a small package. The only downside is that it has an IKEA logo on it. Maybe we can just scratch that off. Don’t tell anyone at the open house.

Seriously, though. For the majority of homeowners, I think that the oven is going to be one of the least important appliances and would much rather spend the extra coin on the cooktop. Yes, I realize that we could save more by using a traditional oven/range combo, but that just wouldn’t be as cool and would sacrifice our current kitchen layout. The kitchen is the most important room in the house and I think it is worth it to spend a little extra to make it more interesting and unique in such a small and budget conscious house.


Bosch SS 24″ SHE42L15UC [$679]

Bosch in a budget home? That’s crazy! Well, maybe, but my days really feel incomplete if I’m not told I’m crazy at least once… and I really like it.

A budget dishwasher would run us about $350 most likely so what do we get for almost double the price in our Bosh model? A couple things of note:

  • Great industrial design with a full stainless front (I really hate the ones with the black, plastic control panel at the top)
  • Extremely energy efficient (Bosch is the only manufacturer I know that allows you to basically drip dry the dishes rather than drying them with heat that sucks a lot of power)
  • Very efficient use of water while still getting your dishes nice and clean
  • All the bells and whistles that come with a $700 Bosch appliance


GE Profile Spacemaker II PEM31SMSS [$229]

The microwave is kind of an optional appliance for a developer to include but we will most likely throw it in because we will not be installing one of those large, above the stove microwaves that double as a range hood. I’d rather give the homeowner something small, efficient and stylish that fits the decor rather than force them to struggle with the decision of what microwave to use and where to put it. Unfortunately in our super-sized country, the smaller microwaves are more expensive than most big ones.

If you enjoyed reading this post I can promise you'll love our new writing over at Postgreen Homes. Yeah, we know that's the same thing your favorite band said and their new album is nowhere near as good as their early stuff, but seriously, we are actually still getting better.

There also isn't much conversation to be had here . . . at least not with us. So come on over to the Postgreen Homes Blog and tell us what you think of our new(ish) digs and crazy ideas. We will be sure to tell you what we think of your opinion.

{ 1 trackback }

Budget Reduction - Revised Kitchen and Appliances |
July 29, 2008 at 8:54 pm

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Brandon June 19, 2008 at 8:18 pm

Our Asko dishwasher does the drip-dry thing. Honestly, though, we’ve never used that feature…

2 chusand June 19, 2008 at 10:31 pm

Please please please do not put in a 24 inch oven. If you think the kitchen is the most important place in the house, an oven that size is really a disservice to anyone who enjoys cooking. A basic cookie sheet or jelly roll pan will not fit in an oven that size. I think a 27 inch size is minimum for anyone who would appreciate a separate oven and cooktop setup.

3 Derek June 19, 2008 at 10:36 pm

You can save an extra $700 by just cutting out the dishwasher entirely…

4 Brandon June 19, 2008 at 11:13 pm

I’m sure there are buyers out there who want to wash dishes by hand, but I would suspect they’re vastly outnumbered by those who don’t.

5 Derek June 19, 2008 at 11:16 pm

I’m just saying is all…. It’s save on energy as well…

6 Michael June 20, 2008 at 12:38 pm

I’ll let you know if the IKEA logo can be scratched off…I am about to install one!

7 chad June 20, 2008 at 12:59 pm

Chusband – Thanks for the comment on the oven size. Honestly we don’t do a lot of baking in our house so this is probably influencing the decision for a 24″ oven. I did measure everything my wife uses in the oven prior to this decision, though and nothing was over 22″ in the largest dimension. It also seems that in Europe the 24″ models are much more common so I know people are happily living with them in decent numbers.

The bottom line as a developer is that you will never be able to please everyone, especially in the kitchen. If there is a pro chef or hard core home cook, then they are most likely going to want to replace almost every appliance no matter what is installed. I will certainly keep your comment in mind and continue to look for affordable and stylish options for larger ovens. Thanks!

8 chad June 20, 2008 at 1:01 pm

I know there’s a reader out there that can help shed some light on the energy and water usage for the dishwasher vs. no dishwasher argument. Help us out here.

9 lavardera June 20, 2008 at 1:21 pm

I think Bosh will have some info on that – they have claimed in their literature that washing dishes with their machines uses less water, less energy than washing by hand. I think its true if you don’t pre-rinse. We’ve found that our Bosh will pretty much take anything off a dirty dish, so you can just scrape and load.

BTW we have the black front, including the – ahem – black control panel.. but then again we saved another 1-200 over the unit above.

10 Brandon June 20, 2008 at 1:30 pm

Slate recently had an article on the handwashing vs. dishwashers:

11 chad June 20, 2008 at 2:51 pm

excellent link. Exactly the background info we needed on the subject.

Greg – I have seen the all black model and like it as well. It’s mainly the break in continuity that I don’t like in the budget models. The black model could look cool with the black oven as well. Hmmm.

12 lavardera June 20, 2008 at 3:04 pm

we actually got the panel kit so we could put a wood front on it to match our cabinets – never got around to it..

The best feature about these though are they are quiet.

13 Rob June 20, 2008 at 3:29 pm

I have to second the using a standard size oven. If you ever plan to do any substanial cooking for more than the typical two inhabitants, then the larger oven will be greatly appreciated.

14 lavardera June 20, 2008 at 5:44 pm

ehhhh, I gotta come down on Chad’s side on this and call all you out as SUV-Oveners!

We have a 40″ range – rare size, it came with the hosuse, but it has double ovens. Both these ovens are 20″ wide, the inside of the ovens is 17″. We’ve had 18 people at our house for thanksgiving before, and we’ve cooked big honking turkeys in there. And in 15 years I could count the times we fired up both ovens on one hand. And the oven is certainly more efficient for day to day use rather than heating up a larger volume.

So go for your 24″ range Chad, and once a year when you have the PostGreen holiday party at your house you will have to juggle a little and think ahead. No problem.

15 anthony perera June 20, 2008 at 7:18 pm

Hello all,

Being an assistant estimator for the largest electrical contractor in IL, I need to add to this, that if you are going for a platinum LEED certification, please do consider where the appliances are manufactured. In transporting the appliances from other countries to the USA, you need to consider the fuel consumption of the chosen method of transportation – sea. Ironically, LEED for homes does not take this ‘international logistics’ in to consideration, even though they do specify for commercial certification, the distances between the site and manufacturing / distribution facility. I first experienced this on the 111 S. Wacker, Chicago IL building project.

At the same time consider these name brands which are made in the US. They are not cheap :) , but are of high quality and Energy Star certified.

Whirlpool WFW9600T silver metallic on white Washer – made in USA
Whirlpool WGD9500T silver metallic on white gas Dryer – made in USA

Viking DFUD042 built in dishwasher – made in USA
Dacor Epicure EF36RNBSS 36” built in bottom freezer refrigerator – made in USA
Dacor 24” Convection Microwave DCM24S – made in USA
BlueStar 24″ Gas Wall Oven – made in USA
GE Profile 30″ Electric Induction Cooktop, model PHP900SMSS – made in ?
GE Profile 30″ High Performance Range Hood, model JV636HSS – made in ?

In the meantime I’m designing a house, which I hope to build in Lockport IL 60441 – the worlds least greenest town :( (
I too am seeking a LEED platinum certification.

Please do respond to this comment.

16 lavardera June 22, 2008 at 6:14 pm

When we got our Bosh we were told it was made in the US.

17 chad June 24, 2008 at 1:20 am

Thanks for the support Greg. I may also look into the Kitchen Aid Architect Series II that are all made in the USA. Scott from Build It Green Philly is telling me I may have a shot at substantial discounts on list price when buying multiple sets at once. We’ll see what happens…

18 Jakub June 30, 2008 at 8:58 pm

There is a combined washer/toilet system, that uses the water from the washer to flush the toilet. I linked it above. I’m not pretending to know the price, energy efficiency, or amount of water saved using this model so I can’t do a rational evaluation. It might only be in prototype stage at the moment. The details are sketchy but it is an interesting concept to save water and space. If you can get over the idea of pulling clothes out over your toilet.

19 Jakub July 1, 2008 at 2:03 pm
20 chad July 1, 2008 at 2:15 pm

I love the ingenuity but I think I’d pass on that thing for now. I’m a little afraid it might come to life and swallow me up while I was using the other functions not associated with clothes washing. I also have enough places where my socks escape from me during the washing process, and I’d rather not add the commode to that list.

Thanks for digging this up though. It’s certainly something I’ve never seen before. For a slightly easier bathroom greywater system to market, check out the AQUS System that uses filtered water from the sink to flush the toilet. You can find these for as little as $250 and these will almost definitely make their way into a future Postgreen project where maybe every $100 doesn’t count.

21 trina July 10, 2008 at 5:19 am

please consider a propane refrigerator–very efficient and we love ours [by crystal cold; servel also makes them i think]. they’re supposedly 100 times more energy efficient than electric models, made here by nice amish guys in indiana, and work when the electricity goes out. plus, PLEASE NO GE !!! they make bombs, and their toxic waste is still being cleaned up all over the country. GE bad ! [and i think they make LG]

22 Grant September 23, 2008 at 3:39 pm

I had multiple “tabs” open and posted this on the wrong page…

I think you’ve made the right decision with the induction cooktop. You are trying to limit heat gain in your house so as to limit the need for active cooling. The ERV will help you maintain a steady state, as long as you aren’t adding too much heat inside the house envelope. The induction cooktop will dramatically reduce the heat released into the kitchen.

For this reason, you might also rethink the size, quality, and energy efficiency of the microwave. Cooking in a microwave produces MUCH less heat than any oven… Many modern families use the microwave much more frequently than the oven. Few families would forgo the oven completely (and 24? is probably sufficient), but the microwave is more than a luxury!

23 volksdaven December 22, 2008 at 12:45 pm

Most of the Bosch appliances sold in the North American market are made in New Bern, North Carolina or La Follette , Tennessee. No need to worry about sea shipment for most models.

24 Therese July 9, 2009 at 9:46 am

This comment may be way too late regarding the size of the oven but it is food for thought for future projects. Many moons ago, on a high end residential project where we wished to minimize the number of kitchen appliances, we thought we were being smart when we selected a convection/thermal/microwave oven. It was 27″ wide O.D., so we assumed we could fit the Thanksgiving turkey and have a wonderful multifunctional appliance. Wrong! We later learned that the multifunctionality created a smaller than usual interior dimension – the Thanksgiving turkey had to be cooked in an old range out in the garage (over 100 feet from the kitchen) and the microwave cooking time was longer and less efficient due to design compromises to allow for multifunctionality. You can bet we’ve not make that mistake again!

25 Michael Leone May 2, 2010 at 7:02 pm

We just remodeled our kitchen and added a Thor washer dryer combo under the kitchen counter ( It works great and saves a ton of space.

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