Energy Star Logo(75745)Credit: Flickr - MoneyBlogNewzCredit: Flickr - MoneyBlogNewz

You have probably seen the blue Energy Star logo on many household appliances, but aren’t quite sure what it means. Although the Energy Star program was created in the United States, the Energy Star logo is known as the international symbol for energy efficiency. Energy Star refers to a system that rates energy usage. This system is controlled by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA works with various companies to help create energy efficient appliances and products.

An appliance is given an Energy Star logo and rating if it meets the minimum standards for energy efficiency. Displaying the Energy Star logo proves to the public that the appliance is certified to be energy efficient, based on the standards for that certain appliance. The lower the estimated number of kilowatt hours consumed per year, the more energy efficient the appliance is. The typical appliance with an Energy Star logo saves 10-20 percent energy per year.

Although having appliances with the Energy Star logo is a big deal nowadays, the Energy Star program has actually been in existence since 1992. The standards to obtain an Energy Star logo are very strict. The EPA establishes the standards. The energy savings must be significant and able to be tested and verified. The products must also offer the features that consumers want and need.

The EPA revises standards when the market share of a particular product reaches at or above 50 percent. Changes in federal standards, technological advances, product availability, customer issues regarding energy savings and performance or quality issues can all also determine when the EPA needs to revise standards. Revising the standards can making the Energy Star logo harder to obtain.

Although the Energy Star logo is most commonly found in private households, it has now expanded to commercial use. Businesses and office buildings are using power management systems and fluorescent lighting. Energy efficiency can even be found on the roadways, with many traffic lights converted to LED lighting.

The Energy Star program has made significant progress. Approximately 12 percent of new homes are labeled as energy efficient. More than 40,000 products with the Energy Star logo are now available for use in homes and businesses. In addition, it is estimated that the EPA saves $14 billion a year in energy costs.

More and more consumers are looking for appliances that display the Energy Star logo because it ensures that they will pay lower energy costs in the long run, saving hundreds of dollars during the life of the product. Not only do consumers save energy, but they feel good knowing that by purchasing a product with the Energy Star logo, they are doing their part to help the environment.