One of my favorite government iniatives has to be the EnergyStar program. This is probably and in some ways unfortunately one of the most effective campaigns that our governent runs. It is a joint program run by the US EPA and the US Department of Energy that aims to help America save energy and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices. How could we not like it. My intention with today's article is to shed some light on the Energy Star accomplishments and what that little star actually means.
The voluntary labeling program began in 1992 and only covered computers and monitors. It now covers almost all major electonics products and appliances and has even branched out into new homes and commercial/industrial buildings.
What makes a product an Energy Star Product?
The label is only given to products that meet the strict energy efficiency criteria set by the EPA and the DOE. Here are some examples from the Energy Star website.
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.
The website offers a wealth of info on Products, Home Improvements, New Homes, & Commercial Buildings. The Products and Home Improvement sections are full of resources related to home energy efficiency and efficient appliances. You can find Product breakdowns from Appliances to Lighting making the website an easy place to find info on new products you may want to purchase.
All in all, the Energy Star program has been a success and you should expect to see more of these little stars on your products as America becomes more aware of the problems its inefficiencies are causing.