If you’ve been anywhere near any type of appliance in the past twenty years, you’ve seen the ENERGY STAR label; but do you truly understand why it’s important and what it has accomplished?

The ENERGY STAR program was established in 1992 under the Clean Air Act. It was designed as a way to make it easy for everyone to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution by creating an easily recognizable symbol of energy efficiency. Product participation in the ENGERGY STAR program is strictly voluntary but with more than 4.5 billion participating products sold in the past 20 years, it’s a popular program both with manufacturers and consumers.

According to the ENERGY STAR website, of those consumers who have purposefully purchased an ENERGY STAR product, 75% of them considered the label a major factor in the decision-making process. This awareness has helped save $230 billion in utility bills and kept 1.8 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions out of the atmosphere in the twenty years since the program started.

ENERGY STAR has been a major factor in energy efficiency for two decades.  It has been a leader in driving our desire for ever more-efficient products.  According to the EPA, a washing machine with an ENERGY STAR label uses 70% less energy and 75% less water than a standard machine of 20 years ago.

So how does a product achieve ENERGY STAR labeling? It has to meet strict EPA guidelines for energy efficiency.  It must also offer standard features and performance, with measureable efficiency results. Any price difference due to increased energy efficiency over a non-ENERGY STAR product must be recouped through energy savings within a reasonable period of time. All ENERGY STAR products are certified through third-party testing.

From blenders to furnaces, water heaters to computers, there are over 65 different ENERGY STAR categories.  Any product with the blue star label will be a win-win for you: You will save money on your utility bill for the life of the product and help keep our planet green.

While any ENERGY STAR purchase helps, look for the label when purchasing items such as furnaces, heat pumps, air conditioners, equipment, and water heaters.  Since more than half of your utility bills are due to these few categories, this is the biggest potential for saving money and helping the environment.

ENERGY STAR products are everywhere, so it’s an easy decision. Each time there is a choice to make, make the best choice for your wallet and your planet.

Energystar.gov