Energy Star has been around for over two decades, and the program has led to some major improvements to common electronics and appliances that we use on a daily basis. These improvements made the appliances more energy efficient, cutting energy costs and reducing our impact on the environment. The program was conceived by the Energy Protection Agency (EPA) in 1992 and was originally meant to cut back on the energy use of computers at the time. The program now covers over 50 categories of products. No matter how many categories are covered, the goal will always be to conserve energy.
Energy Star helps consumers by putting their label on appliances and electronics, from computers to washing machines to ceiling fans that meet their standards. The label will include information on how much energy the appliance consumes, something most products won’t highlight, and it represents a product that requires less energy than most of its counterparts.
According to the Department of Energy, Energy Star has helped American consumers save enough energy to power 10 million homes and avoid 12 million cars’ worth of greenhouse emissions. On top of all that, they saved $6 billion in energy costs. And that was for last year alone.
On the surface, Energy Star products are more costly up front, because great care is taken by manufacturers to find ways of improving the product’s efficiency. This higher cost of development is passed on to the consumer. However, there are numerous incentive programs that grant tax breaks and rebates to the consumer in order to encourage purchasing more efficient appliances. Not to mention, the savings associated with using energy efficient products can repay the cost of the product itself. This makes energy efficient products more desirable, and thus manufactures will want to produce them.
All major appliances are required to have a label that indicates how much energy the appliance consumes and the annual operating cost of the appliance. If the product’s energy requirements are a certain percentage (which can vary by category) below the average consumption of a similar product, they are give the Energy Star certification. These days, entire homes or office buildings can be Energy Star certified if they are at least 15% more efficient than those meeting the 2004 International Residential Code.
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