Labels What Do They Mean: Energy Star

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Energy Star was created in 1992 as a joint venture of the EPA and Department of Energy in a effort to give Americans information on energy efficient computers it have obviously grown to encompass many consumer products and even new homes can get an Energy Star ratings but what is.

It started out as a voluntary labeling program for computer equipment, so basically if a company created a product that met the standards set by Energy Star they could put their logo on their products as a kind of seal of approval.  Since then they have done extensive research and shared it with companies and consumers on how average everyday products can become more energy efficient. As Energy Star develops more research more products can have an Energy Star rating.

What does a product need to be in order to get an Energy Star rating?

Energy Star products are the same or better than standard products, only they use less energy. To earn the Energy Star rating, they must meet strict energy efficiency criteria. Since they use less energy, these products save you money on your electricity bill and help protect the environment by causing fewer harmful emissions from power plants. And you get the features and quality you expect.

Some examples:

  • Qualified refrigerators are at least 15% more efficient than the minimum federal efficiency standard.
  • Qualified TVs consume 3 watts or less when switched off, compared to a standard TV, which consumes almost 6 watts on average.
  • Office equipment that qualifies automatically enters a low-power “sleep” mode after a period of inactivity.
  • Qualified light bulbs (CFLs) use two-thirds less energy than a standard incandescent bulb and must meet additional operating and reliability guidelines.
  • Qualified furnaces offer a rating of 90% AFUE or greater, which is about 15% more efficient than the minimum federal efficiency standard.

Now just because something has an Energy Star rating it does not mean it is exactly the same as other thing in the same category. For example, I bought a refrigerator a year ago and I bought one with an Energy Star rating but I still had to look at the yellow tag on the refrigerators at the store to see which one would cost less per year to operate. When searching for a new appliance it is not just good enough it has an Energy Star sticker you need to see which one of the many Energy Star rated appliances cost the least to operate each year. The cheaper to operate per year usually means it is more expensive to purchase so weigh the options of the increase in price over the energy cost per year for the life of the appliance.

Economic impact: Energy Star changed the way businesses approach the market place by seeing the importance of meeting their guidelines to be able to use their logo to attract customers.

Environmental impact:Decrease in the use of energy on average appliances, household items, and commerical items therefore decreasing the use of oil, nuclear energy, and other energy sources which helps in reduce the effects of global warming.

Personal Financial Impact: Items may be more expensive but it is generally easy to see what the savings will be on your energy bill.

 For more information about Energy Star and products with that rating go to: http://www.energystar.gov

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