We see the blue ENERGY STAR logo slapped onto everything from refrigerators and toasters to television sets and windows. So what exactly does it mean when you buy green, and how do products earn the label? We explore the ENERGY STAR website to find out, and discover a wealth of resources that we never knew were there - all free to us, courtesy of the US Government.
The official mission statement from the ENERGY STAR website offers a vague description of the program and states only generalized information on how a product actually earns the ENERGY STAR label.
ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices.
The ENERGY STAR label was established to:
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants caused by the inefficient use of energy; and
- Make it easy for consumers to identify and purchase energy-efficient products that offer savings on energy bills without sacrificing performance, features, and comfort.
The guiding principles that establish the ENERGY STAR specifications are based on the following:
- Product categories must contribute significant energy savings nationwide.
- Qualified products must deliver the features and performance demanded by consumers, in addition to increased energy efficiency.
- If the qualified product costs more than a conventional, less-efficient counterpart, purchasers will recover their investment in increased energy efficiency through utility bill savings, within a reasonable period of time.
- Energy efficiency can be achieved through broadly available, non-proprietary technologies offered by more than one manufacturer.
Product energy consumption and performance can be measured and verified with testing.
- Labeling would effectively differentiate products and be visible for purchasers.
The ENERGY STAR website actually packs quite a lot of resources to help you save energy at home, with a ton of tips, techniques, and pointers. There’s a neat energy score calculator that can help you determine your household’s energy use and the ENERGY STAR Home Advisor gives you customized recommendations based on your input. ENERGY STAR goes beyond the home into your workplace too, offering strategies and tools.
Great links from the ENERGY STAR website
ENERGY STAR from the Unplggd archives
ENERGY STAR Refrigerators
ENERGY STAR Dishwashers
ENERGY STAR Washing Machines
ENERGY STAR Air Purifiers
ENERGY STAR Water Heaters
ENERGY STAR Drinking Water Dispensers
ENERGY STAR Computing