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What is Energy Star? History and Benefits of the Energy Star Program

written by: MD Weems•edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 5/5/2010

You see the blue logo all the time, but do you really know what Energy Star means? This article will help you understand what Energy Star is and what it does.

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    What is Energy Star?

    200px-Energy Star logo svg Energy star is actually the international standard for the energy efficiency in all consumer products. It was first formed in the United States in mid-1992 as a government program that was attempting to reduce the energy consumption in America, and then several nations in the European Union started to use the program as well, including Australia, Canada, Japan, and Taiwan.

    Many of the devices that we use in our daily lives now carry the Energy Star logo, such as our computers, kitchen appliances, and even some buildings. The items that carry the Energy Star logo normally save from 20-30% annually on energy. But, there are several European products that are now labeled under TCO Certification, which is a combined energy usage and ergonomics rating that was developed from the Swedish Confederation of Professional Employees (TCO), and is used instead of the Energy Star program.

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    How it Started and What Good is it?

    The Environmental Protection Agency in the United States created the Energy Star program to help reduce both the amount of energy that Americans use as well as the gas emissions that power plants put out. It was supposed to be a part of a voluntary program series, just like the methane programs were at the time, that would help to show how reducing greenhouse gas and help to slow global warming can still help with the profits that these companies were receiving from their goods and services.

    Although the program was initially a voluntary one to help label and promote a more energy-efficient product, it actually began with labels for computers. Then, in 1995, the program was expanded widely, and began to introduce labels for both heating and cooling systems as well as new homes. The program continued to expand and grow, and as of 2006, there were over 40,000 Energy Star products on the market that ranged from appliances to office equipment, lighting to home electronics. There are also many new home designs and builders that place the Energy Star label on their homes as well as many industrial buildings as more and more people and companies strive to help save energy and reduce pollution. There are so many people that are starting to use Energy Star products and work for ways to help reduce their energy consumption due to the Energy Star program that the Environmental Protection Agency estimated that it actually saved over $14 billion in energy costs just in 2006 alone.

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    Energy Star Products

    Thanks to the Energy Star program, more people all over the world are now seeing more energy efficient fluorescent lights, better power management systems for their office equipment, and helped to spread the usage of LED traffic lights. To learn more about the Energy Star programs, as well as find a list of products that carry the Energy Star logo and rating, you can visit for more information.