Who or What is Energy Star?

Mar 5 14:52 2008 Sam Greyhawk Print This Article

In 2006 alone Energy Star saved consumers over $14 billion on their utility bills.  Translated into greenhouse gas emissions, in 2006 Energy Star prevented greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 25 million cars.  An Energy Star rated device can save between 15-75% over comparable devices.

Energy Star is a United States government program to promote energy efficient consumer products. Most consumers are familiar with the bright blue logo that appears on numerous computer products and home appliances.

Energy Star was originally created in 1992 by the US Environmental Protection Agency or EPA. It was as an attempt to reduce energy consumption and as a function greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide. John S. Hoffman,Guest Posting inventor of the Green Programs at the US EPA, is credited with the development of the Energy Star.

Why does generating electricity cause greenhouse gases?

While it's possible to generate electricity in many "green" ways the number one source of US electricity is coal. In 2006, nearly half (49%) of the country's 4.1 trillion kilowatt hours of electricity used coal as its source of energy. Coal-fired power plants are the primary source of the principal global warming pollutant, carbon dioxide.

The History of Energy Star

Starting with computer products in 1992 Energy Star initiated a voluntary labeling program. The goal being to allow consumers to easily identify energy efficient products.

In 1995 Energy Star was expanded significantly. The expansion included labels for residential heating and cooling system as well as new homes. Today Energy Star has grown to include more than 40,000 products in 50 product categories.

Energy Star has grown into more than just a voluntary labeling system. Energy Star has partnered with and provides technical information and tools to more than 9,000 private and public sector organizations. Energy Star encourages more than just energy-efficient solutions, they also offer best management practices.

In the US, Energy Star, has become common in our society. Energy Star has been the driving force behind such new technologies as LED traffic lights, efficient fluorescent lighting, power management systems for office equipment, and low standby energy use.

Energy Star is always evolving as our technologies evolve. Recently Energy Star has grown to include specifications for commercial griddles, decorative light strings, enterprise servers and solid state lighting. In November 2007 Energy Star expanded its television specification to include standby power use.

Does Energy Star really help?

Yes - in 2006 alone Energy Star saved consumers over $14 billion on their utility bills. Translated into greenhouse gas emissions, in 2006 Energy Star prevented greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 25 million cars. An Energy Star rated device can save between 15-75% over comparable devices.

Energy Star for the Home

The US-GBC estimates just a 2-7% increase in materials cost to build "green" when compared to traditional options. Energy efficient choices help families save about a third on their energy bill with similar savings of greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining style and comfort. Energy Star helps consumers quickly and easily identify the energy efficient choices they have when purchasing. Consumers can trust products rated by Energy Star deliver the same or better performance as comparable models while using less energy and also saving money.

Key Energy Star Product Specifications

  • Appliances: Energy Star refrigerators need 15% over minimum standards, Dishwashers 41%. Look for the yellow EnergyGuide label that shows the annual cost of operation.
  • Heating and Cooling Systems: Generally the source of the lions share of your energy consumption (in some cases up to 90%), Energy Star, covers heat pumps, boilers, air conditioning systems, and furnaces.
  • Home Electronics: Energy Star home electronics generally use 30% less energy then minimum standards.
  • Lighting: Energy Star lighting uses 75% less energy and last up to ten times longer then incandescent lights.
  • Buildings: Energy Star rates complete buildings - these buildings use at least 15% less energy than standard buildings.

Is Energy Star the only standard?

On an international scale Energy Star is similar to the TCO Certification. The TCO Certification combines both energy rating and ergonomic rations from the Swedish Confederation of Professional Employees (TCO). The TCO Certification is generally associated with computer monitors but in more recent years has grown to include computers, keyboards, printers, mobile phones and office furniture.

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About Article Author

Sam Greyhawk
Sam Greyhawk

Sam Greyhawk is an energy efficiency evangelist who works for Cool-N-Save(tm) in Huntington Beach, California. Cool-N-Save(tm) is an Energy Star Partner that provides up to a 30% increase in air conditioner efficiency. Instantly reduce your AC electric bill with Cool-N-Save(tm).

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