ENERGY STAR — 20 Years Helping People Save Energy and Money

ENERGY STAR Logo2012 marks the 20th anniversary of the ENERGY STAR program launched in 1992. “American families and businesses have saved a total of nearly $230 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 1.7 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions with help from ENERGY STAR.”


ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to help Americans save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products, buildings, and practices.


Household products like refrigerators and televisions that bear the ENERGY STAR label meet energy efficiency guidelines, without sacrificing features, style, or comfort.

Energy efficient new homes may earn the ENERGY STAR label.

ENERGY STAR tools and resources help homeowners plan energy efficient improvements, reduce energy bills, and save money.


ENERGY STAR offers proven energy management strategies and measurement tools to help businesses reduce, monitor, and manage energy use, and save money.

The ENERGY STAR performance rating system helps businesses identify energy efficient buildings and implement improvements in their own buildings.

ENERGY STAR History Highlights

  • 1992: U.S. EPA launches ENERGY STAR program, qualified computers and monitors are the first products to earn the ENERGY STAR label.
  • 1995: ENERGY STAR label is expanded to commercial and industrial buildings and new homes.
  • 1996: U.S. DOE and U.S. EPA ENERGY STAR announced a partnership. White goods (appliances) become eligible for ENERGY STAR label.
  • 2000: ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is launched, representing the largest inventory of commercial building performance data worldwide.
  • 2008: ENERGY STAR web tools are introduced to assist Americans with saving energy at home, work, and in their communities.
  • 2011: New ENERGY STAR requirements for televisions take effect.
  • 2012: ENERGY STAR 20th anniversary.

ENERGY STAR Tools and Resources

The ENERGY STAR website offers a variety of useful tools and resources.

  • Search for thousands of energy efficient products including appliances, building products, computers, electronics, and heating and cooling equipment.
  • Learn how products earn the ENERGY STAR label.
  • Get ideas and tips on how to save energy and reduce utility bills at home.
  • Learn about ENERGY STAR certified homes, and how ENERGY STAR helps businesses save energy and money.
  • Find out about available tax credits.
  • Check out the ENERGY STAR Most Efficient product list.

Where Does My Money Go?

According to the ENERGY STAR website, the annual energy bill for a typical single-family home is approximately $2,200. Heating and cooling represent a whopping 46% of home energy ENERGY STAR Where Does My Money Go Chartuse. The interactive chart provides energy saving ideas from easy do-it-yourself items like regularly changing air filters to hiring a professional to seal heating and cooling ducts.

In the past few years, we have purchased an ENERGY STAR labeled washer and television. With appliances representing 13% and electronics 4% of home energy use, these were perhaps not the biggest energy saving actions we could have taken but they were the items we needed to replace at the time.

Our ENERGY STAR labeled washer and TV reduces our home energy use and saves us a few bucks on our electricity bill.

Energy and Greenhouse Emission Reduction

The key seems to be aggregating the energy savings of millions of people. For instance, the Consumer Electronics Association estimates about 33 million televisions will ship to the U.S. in 2012. More than 19 million of these will be greater than 40 inches in size. ENERGY STAR certified televisions are on average, over 20 percent more energy efficient than conventional models.

At that scale, the energy savings really add up and make a not insignificant impact on energy use and greenhouse emissions.

The next time you are in the market for a new heating and cooling system, refrigerator, TV, computer, or even a new home, consider ENERGY STAR labeled products.

Author: Linda Poppenheimer

Linda researches and writes about environmental topics to share information and to spark conversation. Her mission is to live more lightly on Earth and to persuade everyone else to do the same.

One thought on “ENERGY STAR — 20 Years Helping People Save Energy and Money”

  1. It would seem a good strategy for real estate brokers/sales personnel to be fully aware of Energy Star as a buying/selling tool in today’s real estate market. Certainly outdoor/indoor painting, new carpet, etc. are important when selling or buying a new home but now there is the additional plus of presenting an Energy Star approved home. More and more people are seriously concerned about the environment and industry is confronting the need to produce energy efficient products. The real estate industry is in a prominent position to inform their clients on new possibilties.

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