What is Energy Star?
According to www.energystar.gov, the energy star label is a:
...trusted, government-backed symbol for energy efficiency helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices.One of the best features of the ENERGY STAR label is the fact that once they have the market share of products, meaning once there is 50% or more of an ENERGY STAR device under one category, they revise the specifications and raise the minimum efficiency standards, they impose harder performance and quality standards, etc. Yes, in a way, that could make your device no longer ENERGY STAR, however, that makes the field grow ever better in terms of efficiency, quality and makes the world a better place.
The ENERGY STAR label was established to:
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants caused by the inefficient use of energy; and
- Make it easy for consumers to identify and purchase energy-efficient products that offer savings on energy bills without sacrificing performance, features, and comfort.
Currently some of the biggest bills out there that a person has is from the heating and cooling of a home accounting for approximately 29% and 17% respectively. Following that is the water heater (14%), appliances like the refrigerator, dishwater, and clothes washer/dryer (13%), lighting (12%), electronics like the TV, DVD player, computer etc (4%) and of course, the 'other' category like the ceiling fans, home audio, vent fans, etc (11%).
The heating and cooling of ones home is by far the most expensive parts of ones budget and there are some simple ways to save a few bucks without buying a new, more efficient device. However, if your device is more than 12 years old, replacing it could save you 30% off your bill which would result in a pretty quick payback period! To be an energy star device you need to have a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (or SEER) and an Energy Efficiency Ratio (or EER) of 14% more efficient than standard models. Here are some tips to help save money!
- Change your air filter regularly (preferably every 3 months) a new filter allows the air to flow easier and the system work less, saving you energy. Likewise, a clean filter will help keep the air cleaner in the home because dirty air wont be circulating around. I recommend getting a 3M Filtrete filter, they are capable of filtering out bacteria, pet dander, smog, mold, smoke and just about everything that isn't good! I like 3M because their products are top of the line and if you can filter smoke, then everything else will get filtered as well.
- Tune-up your HVAC yearly. Your car needs a tune-up, why wouldn't your heating/cooling system? This should be done by a professional.
- A programable thermostat will save you money. These typically will pay for themselves very quickly as you can tell it to raise/lower the heating/cooling while you are gone and when you return so it's like nothing ever happened, except a lower energy bill. ;-)
- Seal & Insulate the heating and cooling ducts.
- Insulate your home! Not having a tightly sealed home is like leaving your windows open. A home energy inspector should be able to tell you where your home is lacking insulation along with many other tips and look at your home as a system instead of individual pieces.