When you see that blue Energy Star certification sticker, what does it really mean? The Energy Star is a symbol that is backed by the federal government, and it indicates that the product is energy efficient. The idea is to help people save money as well as protect the environment through these products. Becoming more energy conscious and energy efficient will not only help the environment, but it will reduce your cost each month that you pay for wasted energy. See why Energy Star is a way to go when it comes to saving money.
Why was the Energy Star established?
Energy Star regulations came into being to reduce emissions from greenhouse gasses, and other pollutants because of the high energy needs of Americans.
These labels help consumers identify energy-efficient products. This helps consumers purchase these products that reduce energy bills but still have great features, performance, and comfort.
How does a product earn the label?
To display this label, a product must be worthy. This means it has to be energy-efficient and meet certain criteria.
- Products need to meet energy efficiency requirements.
- They need to contribute to energy savings nationwide.
- The energy consumption and performance must be measured and verified.
- This energy efficiency can be achieved through available and nonproprietary technologies. These technologies can come from more than one manufacturer.
- The features and performance that consumers need must be there as well.
- If the product is more expensive than others that are similar, the consumer needs to be able to make up for the difference through savings in utility bills over time.
How does a building earn the label?
Commercial buildings and industrial plants can also earn the Energy Star certification. These buildings need to meet energy performance standards as set out by the EPA. These buildings use less energy, cause fewer greenhouse gas emissions and are less expensive to operate than other buildings.
How to get designated
Commercial buildings earn the Energy Star by entering building information and utility bill data into the Portfolio Manager. This is the EPA's online tool for measuring energy use. Industrial buildings need to enter in key plant operating data into the Energy Performance Indicators on the Energy Star website. Buildings that score a 75 or higher can apply for the certification. After that, an expert certifies the information before the building can receive the Energy Star. There are more than 25,000 properties that have received the Energy Star certification. These buildings are in the top 25 percent of those similar. This can be a great asset that a company can use to attract both customers as well as clients. You can re-apply for this standard later on if you don't initially qualify.
Example of how you can save energy at home
If you buy an Energy Star washer, you will save an average of $70 per year on your utility bills. This is a simple example of how you can easily save energy at home.
How the savings are achieved
These models reduce water use. They only use 10 to 20 gallons per load, while standard machines use 30 to 35 gallons. These models use better wash systems and don't wear clothes out as quickly. These washers have more space inside for larger loads. Energy Star certified washers use less energy, less water and help us reduce the impact on the environment.
How to make your home more energy efficient
There are easy ways to instantly make your home more energy efficient and lower your utility bills.
Change your air filter
Change out your air filter regularly. You should be changing this filter every three months or more if it gets dirtier during high-use seasons such as winter and summer. The system needs to work harder if the filter is dirty and this just wastes energy. Clean filters also prevent dirt from building up and will reduce the need for maintenance later on.
Tune up HVAC equipment each year. This will help improve comfort and efficiency. Consider talking to a professional to check your system every spring.
Install a programmable thermostat to regulate the temperature. This is especially helpful when there are set periods of time during the week when no one is in the house. If you use it properly, it can save you about $180 each year in energy costs.
Seal your cooling and heating ducts. These ducts can let heat or air conditioning escape easily and cost you money. If you properly seal them, it can save you as much as 20 percent on your bills. The ducts running through the crawlspace, attic, garage and an unheated basement should be given attention first. After you seal the seams, they should then be wrapped in insulation. Then you can address other ducts that may need sealing, but those spaces are the ones that are usually the worst.
By putting an emphasis on saving energy, you can help the environment while reducing your utility costs. A great way to do this is to seek out Energy Star efficient appliances. Next, you should take an overall look at your home and see where energy can be saved. The best way to do this is scheduling a home energy audit to get a detailed report outlining low-cost and no-cost ways to conserve energy.
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