To qualify and earn the right to be labeled as Energy Star, a product or appliance must have specifications that meet specific standards .
To achieve the designation, an appliance must be tested and proven to save money , save time , and contribute to improving the health of the environment.
Money- Cost Saving
One of the guidelines used to designate an appliance, is that it must contribute to significant energy savings nationwide.
This means, if a more efficient appliance is more expensive than the less-efficient model, to achieve the Energy Star label, the appliance must offset the initial higher retail price with cost savings on the consumer's utility bill.
Also, there are tax credits that off set expensive utility bills and pricing. Although, not all Energy Star appliances qualify for the credit, and the amount of the credit depends on the type of appliance. For example, in the 2012/2013 tax year, a credit of $ 300 would be awarded for owning an Air Source Heat Pump, while a Main Air Circulating Fan would only award $ 50.
Time – Energy Efficiency
Another guideline is efficiency. Specifically, the appliance must deliver the features and performance demanded by consumers with increased energy proficiency.
For example, the dexterity of a furnace is defined by a measure called Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency or AFUE. AFUE measures how efficient an appliance is at converting fuel into heat.
An AFUE rating of 95% is a high rating. It means 95% of fuel energy is used to create heat for the home, while the only 5% is wasted energy that remains un-used-escaping up the chimney or elsewhere -contributing to pollution in the environment.
The department of energy requires a minimum AFUE of 78% for fossil fueled, warm -air furnaces.
However, to qualify for an Energy Star rating, fossil fueled gas furnaces must have at least 90% to 95% AFUE rating. Oil furnaces require 85% or greater.
Health – Cleaner Air
In 1992 the Energy Star program was created by the Environmental Protection Agency as a part of the Clean Air Act. The program involves basic engineering and research to determine regulatory strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution caused by inefficient energy use.
Today, Energy Star is a trusted government backed symbol for energy efficiency, cost savings and protection for the environment.
For the consumer, an appliance with the Energy Star label means, a state of the art product that will offer efficiency and savings on energy bills without sacrificing performance, features, and comfort.
Consumers should also look for the "Most Efficient 2013" designation. Energy Star labels with the extra wording "Most Efficient 2013" printed, qualify as a leading edge product that has features consumers are looking for in addition to exceptional efficiency at achieving cleaner air.