Understanding What Energy Star Label Means for You

One of the easiest ways to save energy is to buy ENERGY STAR labeled products. The label does not mean much if you do not know how to read the EnergyGuide label that goes with it. Understanding what ENERGY STAR labels mean is important to choosing the right product for your needs. Some brands are more energy efficient than others.

Understanding What Energy Star Label Means for You

What Do ENERGY STAR Labels Mean

The ENERGY STAR logo means a product has exceeded the minimum energy standards set by the federal government. The product must meet both quality and efficiency standards before it can receive the label. Most of the labeled products far exceed standards, making them better than non-labeled products.

The EPA determines which products get the label. They use a set of specific guidelines when choosing appliances and electronics to list as energy efficient. Providing significant energy savings is at the top of the list. The product must also offer enough energy savings for the consumer to recoup any difference in price versus less energy efficient products within a reasonable amount of time.

The EPA also requires the energy saving technology to be available by more than one manufacturer. This is to ensure a consumer has more choices. It also allows the EPA to establish a clearer energy saving average for that particular appliance type and technology.

Another important guideline is testing. Energy consumption must be easy to test and verify. If it cannot be measured and proven repeatedly, the product does not receive an ENERGY STAR label.

The exact criteria and standards change over time. The EPA does revise its specifications when necessary to provide consumers with the information they need to choose the most energy efficient products possible.

Understanding What Energy Star Label Means for You

Reading The EnergyGuide Label

Most appliances include an EnergyGuide label. The appliance does not have to be ENERGY STAR certified to display this second label. The purpose of this usually yellow tag is to explain how much energy a product uses. Many consumers ignore the label and assume ENERGY STAR is enough. It is important to read the EnergyGuide label as every brand and type of appliance consumes different amounts of energy.

Each label is made up of five components. The first shows details about the model, maker and size of the product. The second is the most important as it lists the estimated yearly operating cost. The exact amount will vary based on how you use the product. The estimate is based on average use only. The cost is listed on a scale that displays the average range for similar models. This allows you to see how efficient a model or brand is compared to similar ones on the market.

Below the estimated cost is the estimated power use per year in kilowatts per hour. This gives you an idea of exactly how much energy is used if you want more details than just cost. If a product is ENERGY STAR rated, the logo appears in the bottom right corner of the tag. The final component lists any special features that make a difference in energy consumption.

This label is most often found on major appliances, such as washing machines, refrigerators, air conditioners and TVs. Smaller electronics may not have an obvious EnergyGuide label. If the product does not, the manufacturer’s website may list some electricity consumption details.

How It Benefits You

Some consumers still choose non-ENERGY STAR electronics. The reason is they are sometimes cheaper. The problem is the cost over time is much higher. Many major appliances are used for a decade or more. An example could be if a refrigerator costs $100 more for ENERGY STAR. The average yearly operating cost for the cheaper refrigerator may be $20 more a year. Over a decade, you would pay $100 more for the lower cost one.

You may also save more due to tax benefits. Every ENERGY STAR product is not applicable to this program. You could receive as much as a 30% tax credit. The list of products changes each year.

Understanding What Energy Star Label Means for You

How To Find ENERGY STAR Products

Most retailers who sell appliances and electronics have ENERGY STAR labeled products for sale. You can ask an associate to help you find labeled products and explain the differences in features. Another option is to visit the ENERGY STAR website. The energy savings at home section is a valuable guide to choosing products and taking steps to make your entire home more energy efficient. Ideas range from upgrading appliances to insulating your home.

If you are not sure what products you might need, the site steps you through common products based on each room of your home. You do not have to buy all ENERGY STAR products at one time to save money. Changing out products as they stop working is a good idea and it is easier on your budget.

Build ENERGY STAR Homes

ENERGY STAR does not just apply to appliances and electronics. The label is now being applied to new homes. These homes deliver up to 30% energy savings over regular new homes. This equates to an average savings of $300 per year. ENERGY STAR homes are specifically built to:

  • Offer more efficient heating and cooling
  • Provide better insulation for fewer drafts and air leaks
  • Better resistance to moisture damage
  • Improve indoor air quality

Every home earning the label goes through extensive tests by certified professionals. All inspections are independently done by these professionals to ensure the home meets or exceeds every guideline. You can have an ENERGY STAR certified home built yourself by searching for local ENERGY STAR contractors. You can also contact local real estate agents about any energy efficient homes currently on the market.

Conclusion

Knowing what to look for plays a large role in choosing the right ENERGY STAR product for your home. You lower your electricity bill with every appliance and electronic you replace with energy efficient models. The label is usually easy to find. If you have a preferred manufacturer, check their website before shopping to ensure they offer ENERGY STAR options. The power to save energy is in your hands.

Simple Steps to More Energy Efficient Home Computing

Changing your home computing habits could save you $30 or more each year. You do not need to buy any special computers or devices to benefit from the savings. You could save even more by upgrading your equipment to more energy efficient varieties. Spending just 10-15 minutes changing settings is all that is necessary for a greener home office.

Change Power Settings

The majority of laptops and desktops currently in use have power settings built-in. These are usually listed under Power Management, Power Settings or something similar. You must change these yourself as they are not enabled by default when you buy a new computer. The exact settings depend on your operating system.

The power settings allow you to control how soon your screen turns off when your system is not in use. You can also let the computer go into a low power state when you are not using it. Changing these settings prevents you from leaving your computer when you get distracted by family or want to go eat lunch. You do not have to worry about remembering to switch off a monitor manually.

For laptops, you have two sets of power settings. The first is based on battery power and the second on AC power. The second is the one that saves on your power bill. The first is useful for helping you make the most of your battery life on a charge. It is also important to note that you can set up power profiles for individual users to better suit every user’s needs.

Use Sleep Mode Or Hibernate

Most computers have sleep mode, hibernate or both. These are simple alternatives to changing your power settings. Both are options within your power settings, but are also manual options for quickly changing your power usage. They are usually available in the same menu as your shut down and restart options.

Sleep mode instantly saves your current session and switches the computer to a low power state. The screen turns off. Pressing any button returns you to where you left off. You can set it so a password is required to restore access to prevent any unauthorized usage when you are away. This option is ideal for when you only plan to be away for a short period or if you do not want to wait for the computer to boot.

Hibernate is similar. It saves your current session in memory and turns the computer off. You have to wait for the computer to boot back up before getting back to your work. This option saves the most power. It is a good idea if you plan to be away from your computer for a long period.

Use Surge Protectors

Many home computing devices use energy when they are turned off. Printers often go into standby mode instead of turning off completely. Plugging all your computing devices into a single surge protector makes it easier to turn off everything. When you are not using any of your devices, turn the surge protectors switch off. This cuts power completely.

Use two surge protectors if you prefer to keep some devices on constantly while turning others off. Controlling the power to your devices helps them last longer. The longer they are left on, the sooner they wear out. You save energy and get to use your devices longer.

Simple Steps to More Energy Efficient Home Computing

Buy ENERGY STAR Labeled Products

ENERGY STAR products are not limited to appliances. Energy efficient home computing products are widely available. ENERGY STAR computers use as much as 65% less energy each year. The exact savings depends on the type of computer and how much the computer is used on average. Other home office devices list savings of up to 75%.

Replacing computers, printers, scanners, monitors and other devices with ENERGY STAR versions. The more products you replace, the more you save. These devices are approximately the same price or slightly more than their less energy efficient counterparts. They do pay for themselves over time.

Skip Screensavers

Screensavers were designed to prevent an image from being burned into a screen. They were also fun. They are not a good way to save energy. Depending on the screensaver, they may use more energy than just leaving your normal screen open. It is always a better option to use power management settings and avoid the screensaver. You usually will not be around to see it anyway.

Shut Down Your Computer

Many people still believe it is better to leave computers on. It is better for your computer and electricity bill to turn it off when you will not be using it. A computer needs to be turned off to flush the memory, restart background processes, clear certain errors and fully cool down. It helps the system be more efficient and last longer.

Shut down your computer fully when you leave the house or go to bed. If it does need to stay on for long periods, choose a time each week to shut it down for the night. It will still save you at least a little.

Use Smaller Computers

Smaller desktops and laptops use far less energy than large, bulky desktops. Opt for a laptop if possible for the biggest energy savings. Laptops run on battery part of the time which helps reduce overall power consumption. Use smaller tower units or all-in-one systems for desktops to help save.

Simple Steps to More Energy Efficient Home Computing

Switch To LED Monitors

Monitors are energy hogs. CRT and LCD monitors are less energy efficient than LED varieties. LED monitors often cost more. The do provide ample energy savings and run cooler. Many newer desktops and laptops have already switched to LED screens. The savings are more apparent with larger or multiple monitors.

Conclusion

You have full control over your home computing energy usage. Taking charge of your power settings and upgrading to more energy efficient equipment are just a few of the ways to reduce how much energy you use. It only takes a little time and money to make your home office more environmentally friendly.

5 Must Have Energy Saving Technologies for your Home

Appliances, electronics and random gadgets all gulp electricity on a daily basis. Many of the things you use every day have energy saving counterparts. These technologies are more energy efficient and include a wide variety of additional benefits. From temperature control to device power blocking, it’s easier than you think to go green.

Energy Control Outlets And Power Adapters

Many electronics stay on standby after you turn them off. This means they are still using energy when they are not in use. The solutions are special outlets and power strips that control when the device receives power. They detect when the device goes into a low power state and immediately cut all power.

Manual and automatic versions are available. Manual outlets allow you to control when power is cut or if you want to leave a device on standby. Some of this even control the flow of energy provided to a device. This version of the outlet limits power flow to only what the device needs and no more. The main use for these is charging devices so that power is cut once a device is fully charged.

5 Must Have Energy Saving Technologies for your Home

You will need to buy these separately and plug into any outlet where you want more control over energy used. Many users opt for placing energy control power strips near entertainment centers and computer desks. The exact energy cost savings depends on the devices plugged into the outlet. Savings may only be a few dollars per month or it could be much more.

Automated Home Lighting

It is common for people to accidentally leave lights on when they leave a room or their home. Automated lighting helps prevent wasted energy by giving you control over an entire home’s lighting. There are two versions of automated lights and some offer both options in a single system. The first is motion sense and the other is remote control.

5 Must Have Energy Saving Technologies for your Home

Motion sense lighting turns on when you enter a room. The lights automatically turn off within a set number of seconds once no motion is detected. This reduces power bills for homes where lights are often left on in empty rooms.

5 Must Have Energy Saving Technologies for your Home

Remote control lighting involves installing a special light switch. Lights are then controlled via a special wireless remote or mobile app. With the mobile app versions, lights are controlled from anywhere you have an Internet connection. This option is ideal for anyone who worries about leaving lights on when they leave for work or school. It’s also a good way to control lighting when you travel.

Smart Thermostats

Heating and cooling account for a large portion of a home’s electricity bill. Smart thermostats are whole home systems that learn your habits and adjusts the temperature accordingly. Some are also manually programmable to better fit your lifestyle. These systems are often expensive, but pay for themselves within a year or two. Most are easy to install by yourself.

The thermostats automatically lower or raise the temperature to use less energy when you are not at home or when you are asleep. The temperature is adjusted to a more comfortable level right before you come back or wake up. The systems list energy savings of hundreds of dollars every year for the average family. The real savings vary based on the size of your home and living habits.

Many smart thermostats are controlled via an app. You can manually override the automatic settings at any time if your habits change. This is a good idea if you get sick at work and need to come home early.

5 Must Have Energy Saving Technologies for your Home

Smart Appliances

Power companies in many areas offer discounted rates during off peak usage times to encourage more even usage throughout the day. People are not always able to control when they use specific appliances. The solution is smart appliances. These are specially designed versions of appliances you use daily, such as dishwashers, refrigerators and washing machines.

The devices do not stop running. They change how and when the most energy is used to help save you money and prevent grid overload during peak times. A smart refrigerator runs all day to keep food cool. It saves energy by defrosting late in the evening. Most people do not even realize the devices are doing anything different.

Utility bills do prove the difference. This is especially true for users who receive lower rates for off peak usage times. The good thing is these appliances do not cost much more than their normal counterparts. The extra cost is made up for through energy savings.

Solar Chargers

Solar chargers are not only energy efficient. They are also convenient for when you do not have access to a power outlet. These chargers rely upon light to charge most any gadget, such as smartphones and tablets. They do not require any other type of energy to operate. They are also not bulky so you can easily carry them with you anywhere you go.

Many people already carry rechargeable backup power sources. A solar charger provides the same benefit without rechargeable batteries. They are simple to use and prevent the need to plug in your devices for hours every day. This does not save quite as much as some of the other technologies listed. It does shave a small amount off your energy usage each month. This provides you savings over time.

These charges are available in a wide variety of styles. Mats, backpacks, sleeves and cases are all common. They all have solar panels and a small place to plug in your device for charging. Choosing a useful charger, such as a tablet sleeve, prevents the need to carry additional items with you.

Conclusion

Being more energy efficient is not hard. Changing your thermostat, using different power outlets and opting for solar chargers are all simple ways to reduce energy usage and your power bill. A small investment upfront is all that is needed to save possibly hundreds or more every year. Most of these pay for themselves in less than a year. You are free to enjoy the savings for years to come.