It’s getting easier for shoppers to find some of the most energy-efficient products on the market while providing manufacturers an incentive to innovate.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it was unveiling a new designation for its Energy Star certification, which provides labels for a wide variety of consumer products that meet government requirements for energy efficiency. The new Energy Star Most Efficient 2011 designation will go beyond the agency’s standard endorsement by recognizing Energy Star–certified products that are in the top 5 percent of their categories.
For 2011, the categories include clothes washers, refrigerators, televisions and home heating and cooling systems. The EPA will initiate a process later this year to consider additional categories to include for 2012.
The new designation will help U.S. consumers save money off monthly utility bills and cut pollution, EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson said in a statement. According to Jackson, the new designation will also provide manufacturers with an incentive to make products that operate with greater energy efficiency in order to compete for business among Americans who are “eager to make purchases that save them money on their utility bills and reduce the pollution in the air we breathe.” The Energy Star Most Efficient label will help shoppers find those purchases, Jackson added.
U.S. Department of Energy secretary Steven Chu reinforced the message that the new designation would provide manufacturers with an incentive to innovate. “The new Most Efficient designation is the next step towards encouraging new, more energy-efficient products to enter the market, so that consumers will have even more choices when it comes to high performance, high efficiency products that will save them energy and money,” Chu said in a statement.
Familiar Brands Top Energy Star’s Most Efficient List
Currently, clothes washers, televisions and home heating and cooling systems have been certified Energy Star Most Efficient 2011. Refrigerator certification will come later this year.
Among the brands that have received the first certifications under the Energy Star Most Efficient designation include products from Electrolux Major Appliances, Best Buy’s Insignia Brand, LG, Nordyne, Panasonic, Rheem, Samsung and Sears’ Kenmore.
Clothes washers with the new certification have an annual average operating cost between $80 and $103; televisions have an annual average operating cost between $3.13 and $13.63; and central air HVAC systems provide savings of between 27.78 percent and 46.94 percent over minimum federal standards.
According to Energy Star, last year U.S. consumers purchased Energy Star–certified products in more than 60 categories that resulted in $18 billion in savings off energy bills and the prevention of greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the annual emissions of 33 million vehicles.
“New Energy Star Initiative Recognizes Cutting-Edge Products with Highest Energy Efficiency,” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency press release, July 14, 2011.
Energy Star Website, “Energy Star Most Efficient 2011.”