Energy Star is a government backed label that symbolizes a product superior in energy efficiency. A product that when used for its entire lifetime saves the consumer money.
*”Results are already adding up. Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved enough energy in 2009 alone to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 30 million cars – all while saving nearly $17 billion on their utility bills.”
The EPA decides who gets the Energy Star label and who doesn’t. Although the Energy Star label originated in the United States, the label is quickly growing internationally. Who wouldn’t want increased energy efficiency, and smaller energy bills?
Energy Star does not stop at small appliances for their label. An entire house can get the Energy Star label, with a certificate to prove it (and lower utility bills).
To build an Energy Star home, the website for Energy Star has a list of builders who are Energy Star certified. The Energy Star certification on the actual house occurs after the house is built. The house must meet strict EPA standards that make it 20-30% more efficient than a standard home. This means that the house has effective Insulation, high-performance windows, efficient heating and equipment, and more.
It is a wonderful program that has decreased energy usage considerably. There are some tough choices the EPA will be facing shortly regarding granting the Energy Star brand. The Energy Star label is meant to designate that a particular product that is more energy efficient than other products in the same category. But what happens when the Energy Star products become the majority in the group? The EPA may have to change standards, and reverse decisions.
Energy Star, as wonderful a program as it is, has received some criticism. Some argue that you get no money savings if you get rid of the product before the end of the products life. The critics claim that the savings for the energy star program are exaggerated in financial terms as well. They state that if you took the original price difference, and invested it over the same time period, that you are actually losing money by buying the Energy Star products. This could definitely be the case, especially if one were to charge the Energy Star product on a high interest credit card.
The Energy Star program is not for everyone, but it does allow a fairer playing field for more energy efficient products. At the end of the day it is decreasing energy usage around the world, and making our energy bills smaller.