The Energy Star Program
If you have shopped for any kind of electrical device lately, you’ve undoubtedly seen the Energy Star logo displayed on some of them. Clearly, this is a symbol that promotes and awards energy efficient products. But how and why is a product awarded this certification?
In 1992, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) introduced the Energy Star program in order to allow businesses and consumers to identify and promote energy-efficient products that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Energy Star labeled products are independently certified to save energy without sacrificing features or functionality.
The program initially focused on computers and desktop monitors. By 1995, the EPA had expanded the program to include other office equipment products as well as residential heating and cooling equipment. In 1996, the EPA partnered with the US Department of Energy in order to apply the program to other product categories. The ENERGY STAR label is now on appliances, lighting, home electronics, private homes and commercial structures.
Though the program is voluntary – meaning that manufacturers always have the option to skip any Energy Star testing and certification when they bring their products to market – all products that are put up for certification are required to be third-party certified. Products are tested in an EPA-recognized laboratory and reviewed by an EPA-recognized certification body before they can carry the label.
Energy Star specifications are created, managed and updated by a variety of persons and organizations including manufacturers, utilities, the efficiency community, international governmental partners, and more. The rigorous process of creating Energy Star specifications includes the initial research and analysis, followed by test procedure identification and validation, analysis of energy use data, and then development and vetting of the draft specifications.
The Energy Star label makes it easy for consumers and businesses to purchase products that save them money and protect the environment. In 2018, approximately 2000 manufacturers and 2000 retailers partnered with ENERGY STAR to make and sell millions of ENERGY STAR certified products across more than 75 residential and commercial product categories.