Energy Star® Program

The US Environmental Projection Agency and the Department of Energy have identified ENERGY STAR appliances as being the most energy efficient products in their category. Manufacturers participating in the ENERGY STAR program can put an ENERGY STAR label on their models that exceed the federal minimum efficiency standards for appliances by a specific percentage (usually 15 – 40%, depending on the type of appliance) or a specified energy consumption level. ENERGY STAR appliances that are part of the built package include clothes washers, dishwashers and refrigerators.

For more information on the ENERGY STAR Program, go to The site contains useful information on the various appliances, their energy efficiency ratings and cost savings and where to locate dealers. back to Cut Costs

Policy Recommendations
for Appliances

The ability to require energy efficient appliances in new homes offers cities an underutilized source of potential energy savings. According to the US Department of Energy’s residential energy consumption survey, lighting and appliances use approximately 27% of all energy consumed in residences and account for more than 45% of energy costs. The American Council for Energy Efficiency Economy (ACEEE) estimates that current federal regulations will save households $1,170 each by 2020 in reduced energy costs, or 7.8% of total projected US energy consumption. However, fourteen appliances are not regulated at the federal level. The ACEEE offers information on the most energy efficient consumer appliances . Additional energy savings can be achieved through new and improved standards on these appliances--from ceiling fans to standby losses of operating appliances (power that is still being used by appliances turned off).

Requiring installation of energy efficient appliances follows industry and trends. A survey commissioned by Sears, Roebuck and Co. found that 70% of first-time home buyers request energy-efficient appliances. Yet only half of builders offer home buyers energy-efficient appliance options. According to the survey results, almost 61% of builders will provide these options by next year.  note

Cities could exploit this potential energy savings by

  • Requiring the installation of ENERGY STAR® appliances in all buildings where the city has regulatory control,

  • Creating either a local incentive program or a more comprehensive program for more efficient appliances.