The Energy Star Program

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One way in which individuals and business managers can increase energy efficiency is by using Energy Star products. Energy Star is a voluntary labeling program, introduced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1992, that identifies energy-efficient products. Manufacturers must test all major appliances to meet energy-efficiency standards set by the Department of Energy. These are displayed on an EnergyGuide label that specifies how much energy the appliance uses, compares this with the energy use of similar products, and notes the approximate annual operating cost. To warrant the Energy Star certification, often displayed on the EnergyGuide label, products must meet stricter energy-efficiency guidelines, set by the EPA and the Department of Energy. For example, Energy Star homes must be at least 30 percent more energy efficient in terms of heating, cooling, and water heating than comparable homes built to the 1993 Model Energy Code.

Homeowners can save energy by using low-flow showerheads, lowering thermostat settings, turning off lights and appliances when not in use, sealing windows, installing storm windows, and insulating hot-water tanks. Walking or biking, carpooling, using public transport, and driving a hybrid electric car are ways to conserve gasoline and reduce vehicular pollution. The environmental importance of energy efficiency is highlighted in a 2001 EPA report stating that Americans, partly by choosing energy-efficient products, have reduced greenhouse-gas emissions by 38 million metric tons of carbon, which is equivalent to removing about twenty-five million cars from the road. see also Vehicular Pollution.

Bibliography

Bertoldi, Paolo; Ricci, Andrea; and de Almeida, Anibal, eds. (2001). Energy Efficiency in Household Appliances and Lighting. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.

Internet Resources

Energy Information Administration. (1998). "25th Anniversary of the 1973 Oil Embargo." Available from http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/25opec/anniversary.html.

Rocky Mountain Institute. (2003). "The Hypercar Concept." Available from http://www.rmi.org/sitepages/pid386.php.

U.S. Department of Energy. "Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: Energy Efficiency Technologies." Available from http://www.eere.energy.gov/EE.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and U.S. Department of Energy. "Energy Star." Available from http://www.energystar.gov.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and U.S. Department of Energy. "Fuel Economy." Available from http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/index.htm.

Patricia Hemminger

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