What Do ENERGY STAR® Ratings Mean?
Take a look at many of the appliances in your house and you’ll likely see that they have one thing in common: an ENERGY STAR® sticker. This symbol of energy efficiency is trusted by countless homeowners and businesses throughout the United States that are looking to reduce their overall energy costs and perhaps even lower their carbon footprints, too.
It’s one thing to know that the products you’re buying are energy efficient. But, do you know exactly why they’ve earned that label? Do you know what it is about certain products that not only makes them energy efficient, but also ENERGY STAR-rated? Let’s take a look at what these ratings are and what they mean for you.
About ENERGY STAR
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency launched the ENERGY STAR program in 1992 as a means to help consumers more easily find the most energy-efficient products and appliances on the market. There are over 70 categories of products that are eligible to receive ENERGY STAR certification, which is a big reason why you likely already own so many. What’s more, the EPA estimates that the average American household saves roughly 30% on its yearly energy costs through the use of ENERGY STAR-rated products.
Manufacturers can become ENERGY STAR partners and, if they remain in good standing and submit their products to an EPA-recognized certification body for performance ratings, can earn Most Efficient designation annually. This designation is meant to single out the top-performing products in terms of energy efficiency.
How ENERGY STAR Ratings Work
A product’s ability to earn this designation is determined largely by its usage in kilowatt hours (kWhs) per year. The lower something’s kWh usage is, the more energy efficient it is. To earn an ENERGY STAR rating, a product must pass a stringent performance review by the EPA and meet certain energy efficiency specifications set by the agency. This ensures the consumer is buying a high-quality appliance or product that can function equally or nearly as well as a similar, non-ENERGY STAR-rated item.
Did you know that homes and apartments can also earn ENERGY STAR certification? These residential buildings tend to be at least 10% more energy efficient than non-certified homes, according to the EPA, and existing homes without such certification can be retrofitted to earn it through the Home Performance ENERGY STAR program.
What These Ratings Mean for You
If you’re buying ENERGY STAR-rated products, you’re on the right track toward making a more energy-efficient home! You can trust that anything with that certification has been proven to lead to annual energy savings for homeowners like you. There are, however, some instances in which buying a product with an ENERGY STAR rating isn’t enough to actually help.
For example, let’s look at replacement windows. It’s extremely easy to shop around and find energy-efficient windows that carry this rating. But, unlike your refrigerator or computer, you can’t just bank on the ENERGY STAR label as a sign that your new windows will consistently control heat transfer from your home. Your windows are constantly exposed to the elements, and not all areas of the United States get the same amount of sunlight per year. Some windows are designed to perform better in hotter, sunnier states, while others were made to work better in places that get little comparative sunlight. In this case, while an ENERGY STAR rating is still a good thing to note when window shopping, you should also look into the other window ratings listed by the manufacturer to determine if your new purchases will actually benefit your home as you hope they will.
All in all, ENERGY STAR ratings are great signs to look for if you wish to make your home more energy efficient. For further help finding solutions tailored to your Arizona home, you can count on the Energy Pros at FOR Energy! Contact us today to learn more about our services.