Understanding ENERGY STAR Ratings

If you’re thinking about remodeling your home to be more energy efficient, you’ve probably come across the ENERGY STAR label when researching appliances. The ENERGY STAR® program was established as a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy. Its goal was to help consumers save money as well as protect the environment by creating Energy Star ratings, a set of regularly updated guidelines for home appliances or supplies. An ENERGY STAR label on a product clearly communicates to consumers that this product has passed the test and will help them create the energy efficient home they desire.

How can ENERGY STAR ratings help you save money while saving the earth? 

According to the ENERGY STAR website, “Americans saved enough energy in 2010 to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 33 million cars, and saved nearly 18 billion dollars on utility bills.” That’s a lot of green! Whether you’re buying a new home or planning your home renovation, the ENERGY STAR label can help you make the right choice on appliances and building supplies. Plus, the EPA has tools and resources that can help you plan and budget for a comfortable, cost efficient and energy efficient home.

What are the qualifications for ENERGY STAR ratings? 

While a product may be energy efficient, if it does not have the ENERGY STAR label, it has not met ENERGY STAR standards. In order to earn an ENERGY STAR label, the product or appliance must meet the following specifications:

  • It must contribute to significant energy savings throughout the country.
  • It must still provide the features and performance demanded by customers while delivering a reduced energy output.
  • If it is more expensive than a similar, less energy efficient model, a user must be able to recoup the investment through utility bill savings within a reasonable period of time.
  • The product must provide energy efficiency broadly, so no matter who provides your services, you can still earn savings on the product.
  • It must have measurable product energy consumption and performance.

When are ENERGY STAR products evaluated? 

ENERGY STAR ratings are only applied to new products. However, a product may be re-evaluated and possibly have its label removed if the Energy Star products in a particular category take up 50 percent or more of the market share. The Energy Star rating can also change with the availability of the product, consumer expectations, performance or testing issues, federal standards or technological updates that make previous models less efficient. Check the Energy Star website for the most up-to-date information on a product’s Energy Star rating.

What is the difference between the EnergyGuide and the ENERGY STAR label? 

The Energy Guide usually accompanies the ENERGY STAR label and estimates the actual energy consumption of an appliance. It also tells consumers whether that use is above or below the average for that product. The dollar amount on the label is the estimated cost for operating the appliance for a year based on the average national price for electricity. The lower this number, the higher the product’s cost efficiency.

Finance your energy efficient remodel with home equity loans or lines of credit

ENERGY STAR ratings help ensure you are getting the most for your money with truly efficient appliances, but the up-front cost for some of these renovations can seem daunting. Consider tapping into the equity in your home in order to pay for your remodel with a home equity loan or home equity line of credit. Home equity lines of credit are a flexible borrowing option, allowing you to borrow what you need when you need it. Looking to tackle a bigger project? Consider a home equity loan, which comes in a lump sum, to help you purchase and install energy efficient, ENERGY STAR-rated products to make your home a more comfortable and affordable space.

Sponsored content was created and provided by RBS Citizens Financial Group.