What is an Energy Star rating on Appliances?
Shopping for major appliances can be nerve-wracking, particularly when you consider that most household appliances, from refrigerators to dishwashers and garbage disposals, should keep humming for the next 10 to 20 years. In 1992, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took one part of the worry away. Thats when the governmental group launched Energy Star, a program that singles out appliances that use fewer environmental resources and cost you less to operate. Today, you can spot an Energy Star label on more than just appliances. Office products, building materials, lighting and electronics all carry the logo.
Energy Savings Energy Star appliances are about 20% more energy efficient than ones without the rating. That makes a difference. According to the EPA, in 2009, Energy Star alliances helped Americans save nearly $17 billion on their utility bills. Whats more, using less electricity, which comes from processing coal and natural gasand contributes to greenhouse gases, prevented a significant amount of those environmental hazards from entering the atmospherethe equivalent of taking 30 million cars off the road. Energy Star labels arent difficult to read. Most have a rating that shows how many kilowatt-hours (kWhs) per year the appliance is expected to use. When shopping for a new appliance, look for the lowest number, which means fewer kWhs and more energy efficiency. As a bonus, some Energy Star appliances, such as hot water heaters and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, qualify for a federal tax credit, which puts even more money in your pocket.