The U.S. government’s Energy Star program – which says it helped save Americans $18 billion on their energy bills last year – has created a new category to guide consumers to the top tier of energy-efficient models for such common appliances as TVs and refrigerators.
The program, run by the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy, unveiled the new “Most Efficient” label Wednesday. It will go to approximately the top 5 percent of models on the market in the following categories:
• clothes washers
• heating and cooling equipment (central AC units, air source heating pumps, furnaces, geothermal heating pumps)
The following Energy Star partners’ products are among the first with the Most Efficient branding:
• Sears’ Kenmore
• Best Buy’s Insignia Brand
Consumers can identify which products are “Most Efficient” on the Energy Star website, and in stores by looking for the Most Efficient designation.
The Energy Star program has made a variety of adjustments to its standards since the label was introduced in 1992, tightening requirements and adding product categories. In January of this year, the government began requiring third-party certification of products’ eligibility for the label, which has become a valuable tool for marketers as consumers become more energy-savvy.
The Energy Star program claims to have helped save enough energy to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 33 million cars.