The Evolving ENERGY STAR® Program

May 16, 2018

Over the last two decades, the blue ENERGY STAR label has become synonymous with energy efficiency. Backed by the EPA, ENERGY STAR provides credible and impartial information that consumers can rely on to make well-informed decisions when shopping for lighting and products. But, their scope was not always so broad.

Starting in 1992, ENERGY STAR labeling was for office products, including monitors and personal computers. In 1997 the program expanded to lighting, and by 2003 the program covered over 40 product categories. Today, it stretches over 70 product categories! Since its modest beginning, certifications have become stricter, technology has advanced, and more energy has been saved thanks to consumers selecting ENERGY STAR certified lighting, products, and appliances.

The electric Sponsors of Mass Save® – Cape Light Compact, Eversource, National Grid, and Unitil – work to provide year-long rebates, seasonal promotions, and events that encourage customers to improve their home’s energy efficiency by updating lighting and appliances to those that are ENERGY STAR certified. Below are three of the top reasons why consumers continue to choose ENERGY STAR and the sponsors of Mass Save believe you should, too!  

It’s a certification that you can rely on.

Whenever you see that blue ENERGY STAR label, you can feel confident that the criteria you’re reading on the label is valid. All products must pass a series of strict tests related to efficiency and performance to achieve certification. As technology advances or federal standards for efficiency change, certification requirements at ENERGY STAR become more stringent as well. For example, it’s likely that an ENERGY STAR certified refrigerator you purchased 10 years ago would not pass today’s standards for certification. In 2014, the updated criteria made it so that refrigerators and freezers must use at least 10 percent less energy than the federal minimum efficiency standard. 

Each product category has its own standards to reach certification. For instance, ENERGY STAR certified LEDs must meet 20 industry standards and procedures to ensure compliance. For instance, ENERGY STAR certified LEDs are required to have a minimum lifetime of 15,000 hours. In contrast, some non-certified LEDs have lifetimes as short as 2,000 hours and are unable to provide an equivalent light output as the incandescent bulbs they are designed to replace. The ENERGY STAR standards push manufacturers to produce LEDs that are safe, durable, long-lasting, and, of course, energy-efficient, so be sure to look for the blue label when purchasing bulbs for your home.

It’s a great choice for the comfort of your family, and the health of the planet.

Quality of life can truly improve when you upgrade your older, less efficient lighting and appliances to new ENERGY STAR certified models. Whether you purchase a room air cleaner that reduces allergens such as dust, mold, pet dander, and pollen; a dehumidifier that removes excess moisture and prevents mold and mildew; or LEDs that provide bright, even light throughout your home, your decision to choose ENERGY STAR certified appliances is a decision to create a more comfortable, enjoyable home for you and your family.

Upgrading to ENERGY STAR certified products is also one way homeowners can do their part to improve the environment. Since 1992, the use of ENERGY STAR certified products has helped reduce greenhouse gases by more than 3 billion metric tons just by lowering energy use. Another area where ENERGY STAR certified products have had a positive impact on the environment is water conservation: for instance, certified washing machines use 40% less water than non-certified models. In addition, the durability of ENERGY STAR certified products helps reduce their environmental footprint. As an example, certified LEDs with lifespans of up to 25,000 hours don’t have to be changed as often, making for fewer bulbs ending up in a landfill. Over time, ENERGY STAR has driven huge improvements in the energy efficiency of lighting and products, bringing benefits to homeowners and the planet, alike.

Savings, savings, savings!

ENERGY STAR certified bulbs and appliances may appear more expensive because of higher upfront costs, but when compared to non-certified models, there’s often a far greater return on investment due to the greater energy savings associated with certified products and better overall quality. A certified room air conditioner could save you more than $60 over the lifetime of the unit, while a certified dehumidifier could save you over $300 in energy costs over its lifetime. Plus, the sponsors of Mass Save offer several year-long rebates for ENERGY STAR certified products, as well as discounts on certified LEDs that can be taken advantage of in-store or online. Saving energy and money is just one more reason why consumers choose ENERGY STAR.

ENERGY STAR has truly come a long way over the last 25+ years and we are happy it has continued to grow. This trustworthy certification program makes choosing energy-efficient lighting and products simple for all consumers. Next time you’re shopping for new bulbs or appliances, make sure you check for the blue label!    

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