ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the
U.S. Department of Energy, intended to help Americans save money and protect the environment
through energy efficient products and practices, essentially energy-efficient labeling and tax
credits. Since 2000, about three billion products have been sold.
ENERGY STAR was introduced in 1992 by the EPA as a voluntary labeling program created to
identify and promote energy-efficient products as a means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
In its early days, computers and monitors were the first labeled products. In 1995, the EPA
expanded the label to additional office equipment products and residential heating and cooling
equipment. Now, the ENERGY STAR label is on more than 60 products categories and
thousands of models. Product categories include heating and cooling appliances, water heaters,
home electronics, office equipment, lighting commercial food service and other commercial
products. These products deliver the same or better performance as comparable models, but
using less energy and saving money.
Working with more than 17,000 private and public sector organizations, ENERGY STAR
provides technical information and tools needed by organizations and consumers to choose
energy- efficient solutions and best management practices. In the last decade, ENERGY STAR
encouraged the widespread use of technological innovations such as efficient fluorescent
lighting, power management systems for office equipment and low standby energy use.
Energy efficient choices save families about a third of their energy bills with similar savings of
greenhouse gas emissions. For example, in 2009 alone, ENERGY STAR allowed Americans to
save enough energy to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 30 million cars,
while saving nearly $17 billion on their utility bills.
Businesses use EPA’s innovating energy performance rating system in more than 130,000
buildings across the United States. The ENERGY STAR partnership offers a proven energy
management strategy that assists in measuring current energy performances, setting goals,
tracking savings and rewarding improvements.
Some of ENERGY STAR’s major milestones include the first Foods Processing Plants earning
ENERGY STAR for superior energy performance in January 2009 and EPA’s launch of the first
National Building Competition in April 2010, which is a coast-to-coast contest between
commercial buildings to save energy and fight climate change. In 2009, national public
awareness of ENERGY STAR increased to 75 percent of U.S. households and the number of
ENERGY STAR qualified homes built in the United States surpassed one million.
In 2001, Canada’s EnerGuide Label, which helps consumers make an energy-wise choice when
purchasing a new appliance, teamed up with ENERGY STAR. In Canada, an appliance receives
the ENERGY STAR rating only if it is significantly more energy efficient than the minimum
Canadian government standards.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently criticized ENERGY STAR for
relying too much on the manufacturers’ own testing, namely its self-certification program.
Historically, manufacturers tested their own appliances for energy performance, using EPA and
DOE guidelines. By the end of 2010, EPA plans to set specific guidelines for manufacturers
testing their own appliances and for third-party groups that observe testing, to ensure that it is
done accurately. EPA is working on setting a high bar to attract the top quarter of the class,
namely the 25 percent of appliances that do best at saving energy.
ENERGY STAR remains a successful energy efficiency program, one that is celebrated for its
effectiveness. The ENERGY STAR label is not only easily recognized by consumers, but also
pushes manufacturers towards more appliance efficiency as a way to target products to energy-
For further information, please visit:
ENERGY STAR website
U.S. Department of Energy on ENERGY STAR
U.S. Department of Energy on Appliances and Home Electronics
ENERGY STAR Qualified Products