You find them in all electronic gadgets, office equipment, home and commercial appliances, even in building products. This blue label with inscriptions of energy and a star is internationally known as energy star, a mark most customers look for when they shop for an item. What does the energy star label mean and why do consumers worldwide trust this label?
What is an energy star?
The Energy Star is a program by Environmental Protection Agency or EPA, a voluntary program in the United States that aims to identify and give due recognition to products that are energy efficient. EPA grants manufacturers to attach this label on their products after stringent examination and thorough screening by the agency. Products bearing this label are indeed energy efficient.
How was this label established?
This program was established in 1992 by EPA. Under the Clean Air Act, the Administrator was directed to conduct basic engineering research and develop strategies to reduce air pollution. Years later, the Department of Energy together with the Environmental Protection Agency created a program that aims to reduce energy consumption, reduce pollutions and improve energy security. This involves identification of energy-efficient products and buildings. When these products and buildings meet the highest energy efficiency standards set by EPA, they are granted the Energy Star Label. This will increase their value and reliability.
This program was later adopted by Australia, Canada, European Union, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Taiwan.
What does the energy label mean to consumers?
Manufacturers, building operators, construction contractors and other entities have to pass some compliance screenings. Because a third party institution tests them, customers are assured that certified products indeed reduce energy consumption. This label translates to a guarantee that the product purchased is energy efficient and environmentally friendly
What does the energy star label mean to manufacturers?
EPA partners with a third party institution to test and certify the products. The products under the Energy Star program are independently certified. This means companies that are producing various products must submit each item for scrutiny. In producing high-quality goods, manufacturers should employ certain measures before, during and after production. They must guarantee that energy is saved without sacrificing the features and functionality of these items.
Manufacturers who are awarded the Energy Star label for all or most items are environmentally conscious. They understand the need of consumers as well as their concern regarding energy consumption. The label in their products means their procedures and practices pass a high standard.
How are products tested?
For product manufacturers, their products have to be tested by a third-party testing laboratory that is EPA-recognized. Products are submitted for up-front testing and off-the-shelf verification testing. This is to satisfy the requirement of EPA that products are not affected by the changes or variations in the manufacturing process.
Homes in the United States need energy efficiency certification by a third party organization if they want to get that Energy Star Label. There are two ways on how to get this. The first option is the prescriptive path where homeowners must meet a set of predefined requirements. The second option is the performance path that depends on a customized set of requirements. In both paths, homeowners must complete the four checklists namely Thermal Enclosure System Rater Checklist, HVAC System Quality Installation Rater Checklist, HVAC System Quality Installation Contractor Checklist, and Water Management System Builder Checklist.
Commercial Buildings are verified by a Professional Engineer or a Registered Architect. These professionals must ensure that the energy used is accurate. Building characteristics are reported correctly. It must conform to the industry standards, and it must fulfill the indoor environment criteria.
A professional engineer must verify the performance score of industrial plants. The information on the report must be certified. The plant must meet the criteria set by EPA for Environmental Compliance.
EPA partners with various companies worldwide to ensure that products pass the standards. When consumed or used by end users, they demonstrate functionality and energy efficiency.
So what does the energy star label mean? They define the quality of products sold in the market. Products with such label are produced with consumers and the planet in mind. Those with the label means the product passes a high-quality performance test. This means that given its functionality and performance, it complies with the highest standard in terms of energy efficiency. Therefore, companies bearing such label in their products and buildings are responsible and trustworthy.
When you shop, look for the energy star label to ensure that the items you paid for are energy efficient and trustworthy.