Energy Star is a United States government program to promote energy efficient consumer products. Most consumers are familiar with the bright blue logo that appears on numerous computer products and home appliances.
Originally created in 1992 by the US Environmental Protection Agency or EPA. It was created as an attempt to reduce energy consumption and as a function greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide. John S. Hoffman, inventor of the Green Programs at the US EPA, is credited with it’s development.
Why does generating electricity cause greenhouse gases?
While it’s possible to generate electricity in many “green” ways the number one source of US electricity is coal. In 2006, nearly half (49%) of the country’s 4.1 trillion kilowatt hours of electricity used coal as its source of energy. Coal-fired power plants are the primary source of the principal global warming pollutant, carbon dioxide.
Starting with computer products in 1992, it began as a voluntary labeling program. The goal being to allow consumers to easily identify energy efficient products.
In 1995, the program was expanded significantly. The expansion included labels for residential heating and cooling system as well as new homes. Today, Energy Star has grown to include more than 40,000 products in 50 product categories.
Energy Star has grown into more than just a voluntary labeling system. The program has partnered with and provides technical information and tools to more than 9,000 private and public sector organizations. It also encourages more than just energy-efficient solutions, they also offer best management practices.
In the US, Energy Star, has become very common in our society. It has been the driving force behind such new technologies as LED traffic lights, efficient fluorescent lighting, power management systems for office equipment, and low standby energy use.
As our technologies evolve, so does the program. As an example, recently Energy Star has grown to include specifications for commercial griddles, decorative light strings, enterprise servers and solid state lighting. In energija November 2007 its television specification was expanded to include standby power use.
Does it really help?
Yes – in 2006 alone Energy Star saved consumers over $14 billion on their utility bills. Translated into greenhouse gas emissions, in 2006 greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 25 million cars were prevented. An Energy Star rated device can save between 15-75% over comparable devices.
Energy Star for the Home
The US-GBC estimates just a 2-7% increase in materials cost to build “green” when compared to traditional options. Energy efficient choices help families save about a third on their energy bill with similar savings of greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining style and comfort. Energy Star helps consumers quickly and easily identify the energy efficient choices they have when purchasing. Consumers can trust products rated by Energy Star deliver the same or better performance as comparable models while using less energy and also saving money.