What is the ENERGY STAR Program and How Can It Help Me?
If you’ve needed to purchase a variety of products for your home at any point in the past decade or two, you’ve likely come across the ENERGY STAR label. From computer monitors to washing machines and lots of things in between, this U.S Environmental Agency (EPA)-backed label appears on a wide range of products, and it’s an excellent aid to help you make wise purchasing decisions.
What is ENERGY STAR?
The ENERGY STAR program is designed to help both everyday consumers and businesses choose products that are more energy efficient and better for the earth thru producing lower carbon emissions. The primary focus of ENERGY STAR is “to deliver cost-saving energy efficiency solutions that protect the climate while improving air quality and protecting public health.” The program was launched by the EPA in 1992 and since then, it has helped homeowners and businesses save more than $450 billion in energy costs, and cut four billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, among other energy and environmental benefits.
ENERGY STAR products are independently certified and must meet specific standards for improved energy efficiency, making it easier for Americans to identify and choose environmentally friendly products that also save them money in the long run.
An ENERGY STAR Timeline
Established nearly three decades ago, the ENERGY STAR program has made a significant impact in the way we think about the products that make our homes and businesses more comfortable and convenient. Below are some notable milestones.
ENERGY STAR Over The Years:
- 1992: The EPA launches the ENERGY STAR label
- 1994: More than 2,000 ENERGY STAR certified products available
- 1995: ENERGY STAR For Homes is launched, and product categories for heat pumps and furnaces are introduced
- 1996: The EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy partner on ENERGY STAR, and product
categories for dishwashers, refrigerators/freezers, boilers, and room air conditioners are introduced
- 1997: Product categories for clothes washers and light fixtures are introduced
- 2002: More than 100,000 ENERGY STAR certified homes are built in the U.S. to date
- 2009: Water heaters introduced as a new product category
- 2015: Clothes dryers become a new product category, and Congress directs the EPA to develop a recognition program for energy efficient tenant spaces
- 2016: Seven new product categories are introduced, including electric vehicle chargers and connected thermostats
- In 2019 alone, according to the EPA, “ENERGY STAR and its partners helped Americans save nearly 500 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity and avoid $39 billion in energy costs. These savings resulted in emissions reductions of nearly 390 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, roughly equivalent to 5% of U.S. total greenhouse gas emissions.”
- 2020: Per the EPA, over the lifetime of the program (since 1992), ENERGY STAR and its partners have helped American households and businesses avoid over $450 billion in energy costs, save over 5 trillion (that’s correct!) kilowatt-hours of electricity, and achieve a reduction of over 4 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions
ENERGY STAR vs. ‘ENERGY STAR Most Efficient’
The ENERGY STAR label covers a very broad range of products, and this list is slowly and steadily growing in scope as more products are added. The ENERGY STAR Most Efficient designation and label, on the other hand, is awarded to a more exclusive list of only the highest efficiency products in categories that are considered for certification in a given year.
The ‘Most Efficient’ product list is updated and released each year by ENERGY STAR, and the products chosen to be featured are not always the same. For instance, in 2021, top-end boilers were not included for ‘Most Efficient’ consideration, yet they were in 2020. This is because the 2020 recognition for the most efficient boilers (and other products not making the list in 2021) remained unchanged: Those units remain the cream of the crop in their categories!
ENERGY STAR Products
Products that earn the ENERGY STAR label must meet a variety of efficiency standards that are specific for each individual category. Some of these standards are updated periodically to reflect technological improvements that help raise the bar. New product categories have continued to be added for over 20 years.
ENERGY STAR labeled home products include:
- Central and ductless mini-split heat pumps
- Gas boilers
- Central and ductless ini-split air conditioners
- Gas furnaces
- Tank-type and tankless gas water heaters
- Smart thermostats
- Ventilation fans
- Room air purifiers
- Clothes washers & dryers
- Freezers and refrigerators
- Ceiling fans
- Light fixtures, bulbs, and string lights
- Electrical vehicle chargers
- Computers & monitors
- Telephones & TVs
- And more!
’ENERGY STAR Most Efficient’ Products
As mentioned above, not every category is represented every year in the ENERGY STAR Most Efficient product list. If you’re looking for a Most Efficient-rated product and it’s not listed for the current year, we suggest you try removing the year from your internet search. You should be able to find an ENERGY STAR link for the the type of product you’re looking for, with all the efficiency information you’re seeking – that is, assuming it was certified previously.
ENERGY STAR Most Efficient 2021 product categories cover the following:
- Central & ductless mini-split air conditioners
- Central, ductless mini-split, and geothermal heat pumps
- Clothes washers & dryers
- Refrigerators & freezers
- Room air conditioners
- Ventilating fans & ceiling fans
- Computer monitors
- Windows & sliding glass doors
Choosing ENERGY STAR Products
ENERGY STAR products are an excellent way to lower energy costs for your home and protect the environment at the same time. More than ever, ENERGY STAR labels can help guide you through a wide variety of home purchases. At Save Home Heat Company, for home comfort products such as furnaces, boilers, heat pumps, and air conditioners, while we still install plenty of units from our broad range of offerings, we continue to see a trend toward more of our customers purchasing models that carry the ENERGY STAR Most Efficient label, your best long term investment in efficiency and performance. Nearly everything else we install in those categories carries a minimum of the standard ENERGY STAR certification. So our customers really can’t go very wrong, no matter direction makes the most sense for their circumstances.
Tags: Cooling, Green Living, Heating, Water Heaters
We recommend that our customers become familiar with the ENERGY STAR program and consider periodically visiting the website to assist with future purchases, many of which have nothing to do with what resides under the Save Home Heat umbrella.