The Energy Star Program began in 1992, a joint venture between the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. The goal was to promote energy savings, reduce carbon emissions, and promote America’s energy independence by making it easier to identify energy-efficient appliances.
According to the National Academy of Science, roughly 20 percent of America’s greenhouse gas emissions come from heating, cooling, and powering our homes. So even a small decrease in energy use would have enormous benefits, not only for the environment but your energy bills as well. Already, the Energy Star Program has saved:
- 5 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity
- $450 billion in household energy costs
- 4 billion metric tons of CO2
The success of Energy Star products has not gone unnoticed. It’s promoted business and utilities have invested more heavily in energy-efficient products and infrastructure. Installing Energy Star appliances, therefore, is one of the easiest ways to promote clean energy on both a personal and national level.
How Does An Appliance Qualify for the Energy Star Program?
Walk into any department or hardware store and you’ll find products labeled “energy efficient.” While they use less energy than standard appliances, they don’t deliver nearly the same benefits as Energy Star appliances. In order to qualify for an Energy Star rating, products need to:
- Save substantial energy compared to conventional appliances (10-50% on average)
- Provide the same features and benefits as conventional appliances
- Offset higher purchase costs by cutting household energy bills
- Achieve better results through widely available technology
Energy Star appliances are not always cheaper to buy, but the savings are so great, they more than make up for it in the long run. And because they’re made with non-proprietary technology, no manufacturer can establish a monopoly on certain types of savings (e.g. dishwashers), ensuring these products remain competitive.
Savings differ considerably between appliances. Refrigerators, furnaces, and light bulbs each play a unique role in your home, so they won’t reduce energy consumption the same way. However, they offer sizable advantages over standard appliances. For instance:
- Energy Star refrigerators use 15 percent less electricity
- Furnaces use 15 percent less energy
- Computer equipment uses 20-40 percent less electricity
- Light bulbs consume one-third as much electricity
- Televisions use only 3 watts when powered down, compared to 6 watts in standard units
Replacing an old unit with an Energy Star product provides even greater savings. So look for the energy star label the next time you’re in the market for a new appliance. It’s one of the best things you can do for your home and the environment.