Energy Star: Helping the Climate, Helping Your Bank Account

Jon Fesmire |

In our recent article on going green, or running an environmentally friendly home, we touched on solar and wind power and more. However, Energy Star, an international standard for appliances, deserves its own short article.

In 1992, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy created the Energy Star standard. Later, Australia, The European Union, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, and New Zealand joined the program to help reduce energy consumption around the world. While many products match federal standards for energy use, Energy Star products use between about 20% and 30% less. If all your appliances and machines were Energy Star compliant, you could save that much on your electricity bill!

Finding Energy Star Products

The EPA Energy Star website makes it easy to find energy efficient products. You may be surprised at all the different items. For example, the first things that came to my mind were microwaves, refrigerators, washers, dryers, dishwashers, air conditioning units, and computers. The EPA Energy Star site lists 44 types! Some I didn’t consider include dehumidifiers, ovens, telephones, televisions, ceiling fans, light fixtures, computer displays, and vending machines.

Saving Money

Everyone running a household has bills, from a mortgage or rent, to the energy bill, to the phone bill, to groceries. It seems silly to have appliances that use extra energy, and inflate your energy bill, so if you can, use an Energy Star product. We’re not saying to go out and replace all your non-Energy Star compliant fixtures right now. However, when the time rolls around to replace your refrigerator, water heater, or computer, go for an Energy Star model.

Be Part of the Solution

In addition to saving money, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint. Though in time, the entire world will likely move over to renewable energy sources (kicking and screaming, in all likelihood), we still rely on fossil fuels. These release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Yes, carbon dioxide is an important gas. Plants use it in photosynthesis, creating food and releasing oxygen. However, the carbon that was, for millennia, contained in solid matter like coal, when turned into gaseous form, traps heat in the air, and is the primary cause for global climate change. Replacing your television with flat screen Energy Star unit might not save the world, but it puts a twig in the river of global warming. Perhaps once we’ve packed in enough twigs, we’ll be able to redirect the flow back toward a climate safe for live on Earth today.