EPA raises the bar on Energy Star ratings

Summary:It seems like most electronics and appliance products that I look at these days have an Energy Star rating. That's why the U.

It seems like most electronics and appliance products that I look at these days have an Energy Star rating. That's why the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) are seeking to give new teeth to the Energy Star energy-efficiency rating program by creating a "Most Efficient" designation.

Last year, the agencies figure that American consumers saved $18 billion on their energy bills by using Energy Star products. The "Most Efficient" status raises the bar, rewarding products in particular technology classes that have gone a step beyond when it comes to efficiency metrics. The label will denote the top 5 percent of products in a given class, according to the new criteria. The first categories that will be recognized are clothes washers, heating and cooling equipment (aka air-conditioners), furnaces, televisions and refrigerator-freezers.

Said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson:

"This new designation will help Americans save money and cut pollution by quickly pointing them to the best Energy Star products have to offer. Highlighting Energy Star's Most Efficient products is a great way to encourage the strides in innovation that bring even more energy and money saving choices to our stores. We know American consumers are eager to make purchases that save them money on their utility bills and reduce the pollution in the air we breathe, and these labels will help them identify the best ways to find those purchases."

Among the companies that have snagged an early "Most Efficient" rating are Electrolux Major Appliances, Sears’ Kenmore, LG, Samsung, Best Buy’s Insignia Brand, Panasonic, Nordyne, and Rheem. The EPA will look at including additional product categories later this year. Right now, the Energy Start label covers 60 different kinds of products; it also covers energy-efficiency criteria for homes and commercial buildings, including data centers.

Topics: Innovation


Heather Clancy is an award-winning business journalist specializing in transformative technology and innovation. Her articles have appeared in Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, The International Herald Tribune and The New York Times. In a past corporate life, Heather was editor of Computer Reseller News. She started her journalism lif... Full Bio

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