Energy Star Rating

Energy Star Rating

What is the Energy Star Rating?

In 1992, the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) founded Energy Star. It is a program designed to combat climate change and increase the sustainability of the Earth’s ever-growing population.

The Energy Star label was designed to help homeowners protect the environment while saving money and to improve practices in commercial and industrial buildings to reduce the energy demand. The two missions of the Energy Star label are to:

  1. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions resulting from inefficient energy use; and
  2. Help the general public make energy efficient decisions 

The Energy Star score is a scale from 1-100. It is essentially a comparison of all similar buildings. A score of 50 is the median and indicates that a given building is better than 50% of the other comparable buildings. Many factors are considered when determining the Energy Star score including energy bill history, energy use during working hours and non-working hours, and the relative efficiency compared to other similar buildings nationwide. 

It should be quite obvious that the buildings with the poorest Energy Star rating have the most to gain from incorporating Energy Star products and increasing the overall efficiency of the space; these poor performers are spending the most on energy bills and causing the most greenhouse gas emissions. Buildings with a high Energy Star score at first evaluation are already taking necessary steps to save money and protect the environment, so although there is always room for improvement, these buildings will not see the definitive leaps in these values like others will. 

Energy Star Criteria

To receive the Energy Star rating, a product must be as good as or better than standard products in performance while also meeting certain energy efficiency requirements. Every product has different criteria to meet, so here are some examples: 

  • Televisions must consume 3W of power or less when turned off 
  • Furnaces must have a 90% AFUE rating or better
  • Office Equipment must automatically go into sleep mode after a certain amount of time inactive
  • Refrigerators must be 15% more efficient than standard ones
  • Buildings must receive an Energy Star score of 75 or higher (better than 75% of comparable buildings)
  • Clothes Dryers must consume 20% less energy than standard dryers
  • Windows must have multiple glass panes, proper frame materials, gas fills, and spacers 
  • Freezers must be 10% more efficient than the standard 

How Does the Energy Star Rating Help?

The Energy Star rating helps various sectors of life; homeowners, business owners, and property managers all benefit from the Energy Star label. Homeowners can use the Energy Star certification to identify energy efficient products and make healthy choices for their homes and the environment. Business owners can use the rating to assess the efficiency of their building(s) and identify steps that can be taken in order to improve their environmental footprint. Property managers can use the Energy Star rating to reduce costs for their tenants and monitor the sustainability of their properties. 

The Energy Star rating is also a wonder for the environment. Since energy efficient options are becoming easier and easier to recognize and afford, greenhouse gas emissions are severely reduced. This improves water and soil quality, the safety of the food we grow, wildlife health, and ensures the air we breathe is not damaging to us. 

Furthermore, attainment of the Energy Star label drives innovation. As climate change becomes a greater and greater threat, more consumers are moving towards green purchases and paying attention to the energy use in their homes. As a result, companies are looking to achieve the Energy Star certification; this is now the only way they are able to compete with the top tier products on the market. This also means that industry standards are being raised on a continuous basis; new and superior products are constantly being thought up and made available to the general public.  

What Homeowners Can Expect to Save

Many homeowners get frustrated over rising energy costs. Cooling in the summer and heating in the winter costs a lot of money, not to mention all of the other appliances and electronics that demand energy. Energy Star approved products not only reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, but they save people money. Here is a list of what you can expect to save by making the decision to upgrade to Energy Star products:

  • Clothes Washer: Save $60 per year and 3600 gallons of water per year
  • Dehumidifier: Save $100 over the lifetime of the unit and 1500 lbs of greenhouse gas emissions
  • Dishwasher: Costs at most $35 per year to run and will save 1600 gallons of water in its life
  • Freezer: Chest freezer costs $27 per year to run; upright freezer costs $50 per year to run
  • Gas Furnace: Save $94 per year in cold climates and $36 per year in warm climates
  • Ceiling Fan with Lights: Save $175 in energy costs over 10 year lifespan
  • Room Air Cleaners: Save $25 per year 
  • Ventilating Fans: Save $55 and 850 lbs of greenhouse gas emissions over its lifetime 
  • Heat Pump Water Heater: Save $370 per year 

If these stats aren’t enough to highlight the importance of Energy Star rated products, what will?

Cool Facts About Energy Star 

Since its creation in 1992, the Energy Star label has improved the planet in countless ways. Here are some cool facts about the Energy Star label and its success since its foundation:

  • More than 4 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity have been saved 
  • Over 3.5 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions have been avoided 
  • 6 billion Energy Star products have been purchased 
  • 870,000 homes have been retrofitted via the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program 
  • Americans have saved more than $35 billion in energy costs 
  • A single Energy Star lightbulb can prevent 400+ pounds of greenhouse gas emissions 
  • Commercial buildings have saved $150 billion in energy costs 
  • Industrial plants have saved $42 billion in energy costs 

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