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BE A STAR: What You Need to Know About the ENERGY STAR Label

 

Have you ever seen an ENERGY STAR® label? If you’ve ever walked down the appliance aisle at Home Depot or checked out the TV selection at Best Buy then you’ve probably seen the bright yellow ENERGY STAR sticker. It’s a clear indicator that whatever product you’re looking at is more energy efficient than standard options. 

To earn the government-backed ENERGY STAR label a product must meet energy efficiency standards set by the EPA. The list of products that meant those standards has grown substantially over the years since the ENERGY STAR program began in 1992.

There’s a lot you can learn from an ENERGY STAR label if you know what you’re looking for. Keep reading to find out where to find ENERGY STAR labels, what information is on them and what to pay attention to if you want to save electricity. 

What Products Have an ENERGY STAR Label

You probably know there are ENERGY STAR kitchen appliances and televisions, but that’s a small sampling of the products that could bear the label. Today there’s a wide selection of products that are energy efficient enough to be labeled ENERGY STAR.

Here’s a list of common household products that can earn the ENERGY STAR label:

Refrigerators       FreezersLight BulbsCeiling FansWater Heaters
Air PurifiersClothes WashersClothes DryersDishwashersWindows
DoorsMedia PlayersAV EquipmentTelevisionsElectronics
ComputersAir ConditionersHeatersFurnaces

Energystar.gov has a complete list of products that you can filter through to find exactly what you need. No matter what product you select, if it is ENERGY STAR rated it is guaranteed to work as good or better than standard products while using less electricity. 

What the ENERGY STAR Label Looks Like

The ENERGY STAR label isn’t hard to miss, which is the point. The bright yellow label is meant to help consumers easily identify products that minimize energy use without sacrificing performance. This is known as the EnergyGuide label. 

There’s actually a second ENERGY STAR label to also look for. Products that qualify will have the bright blue and white ENERGY STAR logo label somewhere on the product. This label doesn’t have any information, but it serves as a way to differentiate products that have earned the designation. You’ll usually see this badge somewhere on the front of the product.

Don’t see an ENERGY STAR label? Look inside the appliance or product. The label may be inside if there’s a door or on the bottom of the product. You can also check the ENERGY STAR or manufacturer’s website for verification. 

What to Look for on the ENERGY STAR Label

Once you locate the ENERGY STAR label you need to decipher the information. Below is a breakdown of what’s on the EnergyGuide label and why it’s important to know.

Features That Influence Energy Use – Top Left hand Corner

Up at the top in the left hand corner you’ll see a bullet list with three key features that affect the energy use of the product.

Product Description – Top Right Hand Corner

In the top right hand is all of the specific product information. You’ll see the manufacturer, the product model and the size of the product.

Energy Comparison to Similar Standard Products – Middle of the Label

The EnergyGuide label will also give you an energy use comparison so you can see how much energy is saved compared to using a non-ENERGY STAR product. You’ll actually see a cost range for similar models ranging from the lowest to the highest annual cost. If the ENERGY STAR product costs more this will give you an idea of how quickly you can make up the cost difference.

Estimated Yearly Operating Cost – Middle of the Label

This will give you a good idea of how much it costs to operate a product based on the energy use. Keep in mind this isn’t exact. The estimate is based on regular use of the product and the national average price per kilowatt-hour (kWh). To get a more accurate estimate of the annual cost you can use the kWh rate for your energy plan.  

Kilowatt-Hour Use – Bottom Left Hand Corner

The label will also show the estimated annual electricity use in kilowatt-hours. This estimate is based on regular use. Take this estimate and multiply it by the cost per kWh on your energy plan to get a more accurate idea of the annual costs to operate the product.

ENERGY STAR Logo – Bottom Right Hand Corner

You can verify the authenticity of the label by looking for the ENERGY STAR logo in the bottom right hand corner. If you read your energy bill as closely as the EnergyGuide label you may find your kWh rate could be better. Spark Energy offers fixed rate energy plans that make estimating monthly costs more predictable. See how much your annual cost of use would be based on electricity rates from Spark Energy.

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