Most people have heard the term “Energy Star” many times before, especially in regard to household appliances, but many don’t know much about what this catchy phrase really means. What is Energy Star, exactly? And how does it fit into your plans for helping to protect your environment? Let’s shed some light on what the program is all about and how new homes, appliances and other consumer items become part of this elite group of products that is so prized by homeowners everywhere.
The Energy Star program has become a household name in a relatively short time. Twenty-six short years ago, on March 15, 1992, the program was launched by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The creator of the program, John F. Hoffman, wanted consumers to focus their efforts on protecting the environment by stepping up their efficient use of energy. He thought that if he could come up with a simple, easily accessible way to share information about energy usage, emissions and ways to cut energy costs, Americans would be able to make more informed decisions when it came to the ways they used energy. It was important that the information presented was not only completely trustworthy and credible, it also had to be completely unbiased.
It was decided that a label with the distinctive Energy Star logo would be placed on qualifying products manufactured by companies that agreed to participate in the program, indicating that the products met Energy Star’s standards for efficient energy use. When consumers saw the label, they would instantly know that the product was designed to help protect the environment and maximize energy consumption efficiency.
Partners in the Energy Star program can lower the cost of producing their products through their relationship with the program, which means buyers can benefit from the savings reflected in the initial price of the products as well as in the reduced costs of operation. The easy-to-see label is instantly attractive to consumers, serving as an incentive for manufacturers to produce more energy-efficient products that qualify.
The EPA started small, by placing the logo on printers and computer products. In 1995, the program really took off when new homes and residential heating and cooling systems began promoting their Energy Star status. Homes built to the Energy Star program requirements are 15% more energy-efficient than homes built to code. Energy Star homes often feature precisely installed insulation, energy-saving windows, tight construction and ducts, compliant cooling and heating systems, and Energy Star qualified appliances, lighting, and water heaters. By 2008, Energy Star qualified appliances began popping up in retail outlets as well as in new construction.
Beginning in 2011, the EPA began requiring third-party certification of all Energy Star products. Every product is tested by one of 255 EPA-recognized laboratories and reviewed by one of 23 different EPA-recognized certification bodies before it receives the coveted label. To achieve recognition, all labs and certification bodies must meet strict criteria and are overseen by a recognized accreditation body. As an extra failsafe, a set percentage of Energy Star certified products are pulled off the shelf and tested for compliance each year.
The famous Energy Star logo appears on more than 75 different product categories. Thousands of retailers, manufacturers, construction and home improvement professionals, utilities and state and local organizations rely on their partnership with Energy Star to deliver cost-saving energy efficiency solutions. In fact, more than 40% of the Fortune Top 500 companies are Energy Star partners!
According to Wikipedia, Energy Star and its partners have helped American families and businesses achieve broad emissions reductions while saving over $430 billion on their energy bills! And the best part about this fact…it has all been achieved by completely voluntary action.
Ready to dive deeper into the Energy Star program? If you’re looking for more ways to save money and conserve energy, visit the Energy Star website to learn more. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll find! You can also ask the Sales Team at Ernest Signature Custom Homes about our partnership with Energy Star – we’ll be happy to tell you about the ways we can save you money and help protect the environment. Simply give us a call at (912) 756-4135 or email us today!