What is ENERGY STAR?

Posted by Laura Bretz on 9/15/15 4:39 PM

Seeing the ENERGY STAR logo on appliances and computers is common. When you see that label, you know that the appliance will lower your home energy costs compared to other models. But there is a lot more to ENERGY STAR than a logo.

In 1992, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy created ENERGY STAR in the United States. It was created to reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by the inefficient use of energy. The label also makes it easy for consumers to identify and purchase high-quality, energy-efficient products.


ENERGY STAR logoENERGY STAR began as a label on computer and printer products but by 2006, there were over 40,000 ENERGY STAR products. The logo could be found on major appliances, office equipment, lighting, home electronics, new homes, and in commercial and industrial buildings. It now covers more than 70 product categories but the purpose to conserve energy through innovation is still the same.

23 years later, it has become the international standard for energy efficient consumer products. Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Taiwan, and the European Union have all adopted ENERGY STAR. In general, if an appliance has the ENERGY STAR logo, it uses 20-30% less energy than what is required by federal standards.

To keep energy efficiency innovative, the EPA continues to increase ENERGY STAR performance across all of its products, homes, buildings, and plants. As an example, an ENERGY STAR clothes washer uses approximately 75% less water and 70% less energy than a standard washer from 20 years ago.

The EPA is continuously working to increase its ENERGY STAR partnerships across the country. It’s what drives ENERGY STAR to be so successful. The EPA has worked with Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the Girls Scouts, and Do Something.org. Working with children’s organizations is extremely important as young people are much more receptive to protecting the environment and want to take action. They are also able to influence their families and peers and it makes a big difference.

85% of all Americans recognize the ENERGY STAR label and of the households that knowingly bought an ENERGY STAR product, approximately 75% of them used the label as an important factor in their decision.Group of ENERGY STAR appliances

How does the EPA decide what products earn the Label?

According to energystar.gov, the products must meet these standards:

  • “Product categories must contribute significant energy savings nationwide.
  • Certified products must deliver the features and performance demanded by consumers, in addition to increased energy efficiency.
  • If the certified 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.”

Families and businesses across the world are benefiting from ENERGY STAR products. Not only are people saving money, but they’re also helping the environment. ENERGY STAR continues to be inventive, cost-effective, and produce high-quality energy solutions. It’s no wonder they’ve been so successful.

Thinking about upgrading your furnace to something that’s ENERGY STAR rated?

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Topics: Energy, Home Efficiency