If you own an appliance, then you probably are familiar with the Energy Star logo. Almost every appliance that you can buy today comes with an Energy Star sticker. Despite being in kitchens and laundry rooms across the country, Energy Star is not well-known. Most people don’t know anything about the program. In fact, some people don’t even realize that it is a program rather than a company. Learn a little about the program and why it started.
The Birth of Energy Star
In 1992, the Environmental Protection Agency brought alive its idea to promote energy-efficient products. Decades ago, people didn’t care how efficient their products were. When they shopped for new appliances, people would look for features, style, and functionality. However, no one thought to look for energy-efficiency.
The 1990s was when the general public started to realize the importance of reducing energy use in the home. They learned about climate change. With issues like global warming coming to light, people cared more about being green. The US Environmental Protection Agency saw that as an opportunity to introduce Energy Star.
Energy Star is a voluntary program. The main goal of the program is to protect the world’s climate by reducing energy use in homes. Additionally, the program has a goal of helping individuals and businesses to save money on their utility bills.
How it Works
When Energy Star was first introduced, it wasn’t much different than it is today. Manufacturers of products can label their products with an Energy Star label. On the label, consumers can read about the energy-efficiency of the product. By providing this information, the EPA hoped that consumers could make a greener decision These green choices could then lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
At first, the program only labeled computers and monitors. However, that changed. After a few years, the program grew to include certain office products. It also included residential heating and cooling equipment. When the program started showing promise, the US Department of Energy partnered with the EPA. That partnership brought Energy Star to even more products. Today, you can find the label on appliances, home electronics, lighting, office equipment, new residences, and commercial buildings.
The program works the same way for appliances as it does for buildings. Through certain architectural features, a building can be more or less energy-efficient. After a building is complete, Energy Star can give the building an appropriate rating based on its efficiency. People who want to buy or rent an energy efficient space have the opportunity to do so. Before they purchase it, they can learn about its efficiency.
The Current State of the Program
As of this year, Energy Star has about 18,000 partnerships. Those partnerships include private and public organizations alike. Today, the program still gives consumers the technical information that they need to pick green products. For homeowners and business owners, this means more savings and a lower carbon footprint.
In 2012, the program saved consumers, businesses, and organizations $24 billion. In total, it saved American people about $430 billion. The program spearheaded the movement to use more efficient fluorescent lighting features. Additionally, it started the trend of using office power management systems. With the program, energy efficiency has reached a new level. Most impressively, everything that the program did was voluntary. By giving consumers and companies a choice to go green, Energy Star was able to make a difference.
Advances for Businesses
While homeowners can benefit greatly from the program, business owners also have a lot to gain. One of the biggest advances that Energy Star made was the ability to track energy in buildings. The Portfolio Manager is a program that tracks energy online. With it, commercial building managers can view and track energy use in their facilities. Being able to track energy use makes it easier to reach energy-related goals. In addition to being good for the environment, it’s good for business too. The Portfolio Manager lets businesses save thousands of dollars on energy costs.
IT systems run by the EPA have also benefited business owners. Now, retailers and manufacturers can get product data in real time. Everything is up-to-date and immediate. If retailers want information on a product, Energy Star has that information readily available.
Making the Most of the Program
Whether you own a home or business, you can benefit from the Energy Star program. There are many different applications. For example, you could use the program to buy appliances that are more energy-efficient. Replacing all of your old appliances with energy-efficient ones could significantly reduce your utility bill.
If you’re buying a new home, then you could look for one that has a good Energy Star rating. Once again, this could mean more savings for you. Even business owners can lower their costs by taking advantage of the program’s offerings. With such a useful tool at your disposal, you can change the way that you use energy.