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What is Energy Star®?

According to Energystar.gov, "Energy Star® is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices."

Consumer electronics, refrigerators, freezers, room and central air conditioners, clothes washers, and dishwashers bearing the Energy Star® logo will all save an average 20-30% more energy than the government requires. The same products also emit fewer greenhouse gasses, while maintaining high quality and performance standards.

Why Energy Star®?
Energy Star® products can cut your yearly energy bill by a little over one third. The average household spends $2,200, or more, annually on home energy costs. By using Energy Star® qualified appliances and electronics, it's possible to cut your bill by just over $700.

Using Energy Star® appliances and electronics reduces the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted. Each year the average household emits twice the amount of greenhouse gas as a vehicle.

The number of Energy Star®-qualified appliances and electronics is consistently growing. Currently, there are over 60 categories of products that meet Energy Star® standards. More than 40,000 products qualify and the number is growing.

The collective impact of consumers using Energy Star® products is proof that the more people using Energy Star® products, the smaller the carbon footprint we will leave. To date, $525,437,738.00 has been saved, 7,105,638,265 pounds of greenhouse gasses have NOT been released into the environment, and 4,405,142,038 kilowatt hours of energy have NOT been used.

How Much am I Spending?
According to energystar.gov, heating and cooling a home uses 46% of the total energy expended in your home. Heating the water in your home increases that number by another 15%. Appliances are responsible for 13% of the energy use in a home and lighting is 12%. Electronics are responsible for 15% of energy used. Energy Star® appliances and electronics are available in all of those categories to alleviate the cost and make our environment a better place.

Where Do I Start?
Take a look at your heating and cooling systems in your home. In a home they are responsible for the most energy used. First check to see if you have an Energy Star®-rated furnace and air conditioner. If you already have them, you are on your way to reducing your costs, if not, you should consider the savings by replacing them.

Heating and Cooling
Maintaining your heating and cooling systems are essential to reducing energy costs and reducing the amount of greenhouse gasses your home releases.

Have regular check-ups on your furnace, boiler, and air conditioning unit. A trained professional will be able to make sure that your heating and cooling systems are properly sealed and in proper working order.

Change your filters regularly, lubricate moving parts, test system controls, and check all connections regularly for optimal energy efficiency.

Programmable Thermostats
Replacing your old thermostat with one that can be programmed, for different times of the day; it's a great way to lower energy use and cost. Keep your thermostat programmed to reduce energy use while you are away at work for the day and while you are sleeping. While using a programmable thermostat can be a huge energy saver, there are a few variables which come into play. What climate do you live in? Do you have pets? How energy efficient are your windows and doors? Is your heating and cooling system well-maintained and running at peak performance levels?

Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans are a great way to circulate both warm and cool air in the home. Energy Star®-rated ceiling fans are more efficient than traditional ceiling fan and lighting units; they're capable of saving over $170 over the life of the fan. During the summer months, utilize a ceiling fan in conjunction with your air conditioner; it is far more efficient than using your air conditioner alone. Using your fan and air conditioner enables you to only need to lower your thermostat by only a few degrees.

Air Conditioners
Air conditioners are rated by Energy Star® based on their Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) and the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER). To work properly, an air conditioner will need a blower motor, typically found on a furnace. For an air conditioner to run with maximum energy efficiency, the furnace must be less than 15 years old and be energy efficient itself.

Room Air Conditioners
Look for a room air conditioner with an Energy Star® rating. If all air conditioners in use today were Energy Star® rated they would reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses released by 800 million pounds yearly.

Appliances
13% of the energy used in an average home, is used by appliances. Replacing the old non- Energy Star®-qualified appliances in your home is a great first step to transitioning your old appliances to new more efficient models.

Clothes Washers
Washing clothes is an inevitable task done many times a month. Every load of wash done with a non-Energy Star®-rated washing machine costs more money and releases more harmful greenhouse gas into the environment than if done by an Energy Star®-qualified unit. Capacity on the Energy Star® washing machines is usually larger, water consumption is reduced by 50%, and energy use is reduced by 30%.

Dishwashers
If you live in a household that uses a dishwasher to clean dishes, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, Energy Star®-rated dishwashers are 10% more efficient than non- Energy Star® dishwashers. Second, if you use the dry setting on the dishwasher, try to use the air dry setting and not heated dry. The air dry setting uses far less energy. Lastly, if your dishwasher is more than 10 years old, replace it with a newer Energy Star®-rated model.

Room Air Cleaners
Room air cleaners use a surprising amount of energy. On average, they use more energy than a refrigerator, if operated continuously over the course of a year, equivalent to 835 kilowatt hours of electricity.

Lighting
Lighting products make up 12% of the energy used in a home. Using Energy Star®-rated light fixtures and bulbs can impact your wallet and the environment in an astonishing way. If all the homes in America switched their most used bulbs and light fixtures with Energy Star®-rated products, energy costs would be reduced by 9 billion dollars annually.

Light Fixtures
A little known Energy Star®-rated item, light fixtures, can impact the environment and save money too. Energy Star®-qualifying light fixtures produce 75% less energy than the typical light fixture.

Light Bulbs
Changing light bulbs is a hassle; Energy Star®-rated CFL bulbs have a two-year lifespan, and warranty to back them up. On top of lasting longer than a traditional light bulb, the CFL bulbs use 75% less energy than a typical incandescent bulb. The energy savings from just one bulb is $30 for the life of the bulb.

Holiday or Celebratory Light Strings
Similar to light bulbs, when using an Energy Star®-rated light string, it will conserve 75% more energy than a traditional string of lights. That is equivalent to $300 million in savings each year if all Americans would switch to Energy Star®-rated lights.

Consumer Electronics
TVs, audio equipment, DVD players, Blu-ray players, digital converter boxes, battery chargers, power strips, computers, printers, scanners, and virtually all electronics can be purchased with an Energy Star® rating. Imagine the savings and environmental impact if you switched all the electronics plugged in, at your home, to those that were energy efficient. Homes typically have TVs, alarm clocks, DVD or Blu-ray players, computers, printers, and really, an almost endless amount of electronics. If all the electronics in your home were Energy Star®-rated it could save more than $200 over the lives of the products. If all the homes in America did the same it could save more than 200 billion dollars and over 320 billion pounds of greenhouse gasses.

TVs, VCRs, DVD Players, Blu-ray Players, and Home Theater Equipment
Televisions with an Energy Star® rating can be up to 30% more effective than traditional TVs. They use 10% of the energy consumed in a home. That's 10% of your electricity bill. DVD players, TVs, and home theater equipment release 3 billion pounds of greenhouse gasses each year.

Digital Converter Boxes
Digital converters are a necessity for some to receive digital cable signals, but only some are environmentally friendly, bearing the Energy Star® logo. If all the digital converters were Energy Star®-rated, 90 million dollars each year could be saved. It would also reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses equivalent to what 100,000 cars would release.

Battery Chargers
The energy cost associated with non-Energy Star® battery chargers is more than $100 million dollars each year. By using an Energy Star®-rated battery charger you will save 30-35% more energy.

Power Strips
If power strips were all Energy Star® rated they could potentially save Americans 2 billion dollars each year and reduce greenhouse gasses by 20 billion pounds.

Desktop and Laptop Computers
By using Energy Star®-qualified computers and laptops the savings could add up to 2 billion dollars annually and reduce the greenhouse gasses released equivalent to that of 3 million cars. Computers and laptops that qualify as Energy Star® products also have power-save settings allowing for even more energy savings.

Computer Peripherals
Energy Star®-qualified computer imaging equipment can be up to 15% more efficient than conventional printers and scanners. If all the printers and scanners met Energy Star® requirements it would save up to 3 million metric tons of greenhouse gas from being released into the atmosphere.

 

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