Energy Star - an international standard

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Energy Star

The Energy Star program was created by the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency in conjunction with the Department of Energy in 1992 as an outline for an international standard to regulate energy efficient consumer products. Over the last few decades, it has been adopted by the European Union and countries around the world, including Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Taiwan.

Energy Star was initially intended as a voluntary program to promote energy efficient computers and printers. After its initial success, the program expanded to include labelling for heating and cooling systems and residential appliances, and then in 2006, the program began including overall residential, commercial and industrial buildings. Energy Star rated buildings' energy efficiency based on construction materials, methods used and consumer products contained inside - including water heaters, central air systems etc...

In short, items or buildings that require less than a specific amount of energy when compared to their traditional counterparts, receives an Energy Star mark, indicating to the consumer that the item in question will reduce energy consumption when compared to items not carrying the label. Certain products have additional stipulations that must be met in order to receive the Energy Star mark. Encompassing over 40,000 different products, Energy Star ratings in general follow these broad guidelines-

Lighting: CFL's or LED's that use up to 75% less energy that traditional sources as well as last at least 35% longer; traditional sources are generally agreed to be incandescent light bulbs.

Computers and Servers: Feature Energy Star approved power supplies, performance reporting, active state power and other features, dependant on the product.

Refrigerators: Save at least 20% in energy consumption compared to the minimum standard set forth by the government.

Dishwashers: Save at least 40% in energy consumption.

Heating and Cooling Systems: Utilize less energy than the standard, typically by at least 10%.

Televisions: Utilize at least 30% less energy than average and feature a standby power option.

More recently, Energy Star ratings have also been given to green building. New homes with an Energy Star certification use 15% less energy than homes adhering to the International Residential Code. Performance ratings are also given to industrial and commercial facilities. Rated on a scale of 1 to 100, with higher numbers being better, the rating given is based on energy consumption and what is deemed appropriate by the standards given the specific use of the property.

 

Overall, the Energy Star program provides an easy-to-understand set of benchmarks that enable consumers to make wise purchasing decisions and provide companies with a means of reducing their impact on the environment.

Please see: LEDs, CFLs: Lighting For a Brighter Future.