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.”

About 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.

Home

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.

Business

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.

October is National Energy Action Month

President Obama Calls on Congress to Invest in Clean Energy May 24, 2012On October 1, 2012, President Obama proclaimed October 2012 as National Energy Action Month, further promoting his administration’s “all-of-the-above” energy strategy. As of this writing, President Obama has issued 12 Presidential Proclamations in October 2012.

Proclamation Sidebar

What is a presidential proclamation? It was surprisingly difficult to find a specific answer. The most comprehensive information I located came from a 1999 Congressional Report prepared by John Contrubis entitled Executive Orders and Proclamations.

There is no specific provision in the Constitution authorizing the President to issue executive orders and proclamations. However, it is generally accepted that the President derives his authority to act from Article II of the Constitution.

To summarize: Proclamations are directives or actions by the President. Proclamations usually affect primarily the activities of private individuals. The President has no power or authority over individual citizens and their rights except where he is granted such power and authority by a provision in the Constitution or by statute. The President’s proclamations are not legally binding and are at best hortatory (urging some course of conduct or action; exhorting; encouraging) unless based on such grants of authority.

National Energy Action Month Presidential Proclamation

The National Energy Action Month proclamation refers to President Obama’s “all-of-the-above” energy strategy which covers everything from nuclear power to biofuels. Accomplishments in renewable energy, higher auto fuel efficiency standards and domestic oil and gas production increases are highlighted. Greenhouse gas emission reduction is mentioned. Job creation is touched upon.

The creativity, drive and entrepreneurial spirit of the American people are said to be our greatest natural resource and we are called to action by the President.

“I call upon the citizens of the United States to recognize this month by working together to achieve greater energy security, a more robust economy, and a healthier environment for our children.”

What action we are to take or how we are to accomplish it is left up to us.

After reading the proclamation, I pondered what action to take for National Energy Action Month. I decided to focus my first action on learning, specifically learning about the Obama Administration’s “all-of-the-above” energy strategy. That led me to the Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future document published March 30, 2011.

Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future

Blueprint for a Secure Energy FutureThe 44-page Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future describes the “all-of-the-above” energy strategy. After the introduction and executive summary, there are 3 main sections, each one broken into The Challenge, Progress to Date, and Moving Forward.

  1. Develop and Secure America’s Energy Supplies
  2. Provide Consumers with Choices to Reduce Costs and Save Energy
  3. Innovate Our Way to a Clean Energy Future
Develop and Secure America’s Energy Supplies

This section covers opening public lands and federal waters for expansion of safe and responsible oil and gas production. New safety reforms and regulations, some as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, are discussed. Shorter lease terms and rewarding rapid development are identified as potential means of encouraging companies to develop resources on public lands or step aside. Natural gas “fracking” is identified as an area for review. A global perspective is provided on subjects such as securing energy supplies, electric vehicles, clean energy technologies, nuclear energy, and energy efficiency…

Provide Consumers with Choices to Reduce Costs and Save Energy

Fuel Economy Standards in the Year 2025Emphasis is placed on increasing car and truck fuel efficiency. Other topics include advancing electric vehicle battery performance, public transportation, and alternative transportation. Another aspect is building energy reduction. Programs for cutting energy usage are coupled with rebates and other incentives to encourage homeowners and business owners to make energy-saving investments.

Innovate Our Way to a Clean Energy Future

The President’s Clean Energy Standard (CES) is described. Ideas include eliminating fossil fuel subsidies and using the funds to support clean energy innovation and deploying smart grid technologies. An Executive Order has directed federal agencies to lead by example through implementing energy efficiency measures in over 500,000 federal buildings and more than 600,000 vehicles in the federal fleet.

A one-year progress report summarizes accomplishments to March 2012.

I don’t agree with every aspect of the energy blueprint. I do appreciate the opportunity to take action to Action Clapboard - Call to Actionlearn about what the federal government plans to do, has done, and is doing to implement the “all-of-the-above” energy strategy.

What action are you going to take during National Energy Action Month?