ENERGY STAR is a widely recognized and trusted label on products that meet strict requirements set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. To qualify for ENERGY STAR, heating and cooling units must meet or exceed specific efficiency ratings.
Did you know?
Heating and cooling can account for nearly half of the energy used in your home, according to Energystar.gov, so it’s important to invest in an energy efficient system.
ENERGY STAR Air Conditioners
ENERGY STAR Furnaces
ENERGY STAR certified central air conditioners have higher Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) and Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) ratings, making them more than 15 percent more efficient than standard models.
ENERGY STAR certified furnaces have higher Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings and higher efficiency blower motors, making certified gas furnaces, on average, more than 10 percent more efficient than standard models.
Upgrading your heating and cooling system isn’t the only way you can be energy efficient at home. When shopping for dishwashers, washing machines, dryers and refrigerators you should also check for the ENERGY STAR logo.
Did you know?
Washing machines that meet the ENERGY STAR standard use technology to cut energy consumption by up to 25% and water consumption by up to 45% compared to conventional washers.
Install the right heating and cooling system for your home
What happens if your air conditioner or heating system isn’t the right size for your home?
Temperatures might be uneven across the house.
Units might not run long enough to properly control indoor humidity levels.
You may have more maintenance problems over time.
A vital step to getting a more efficient matched system for your home is to have us conduct a load calculation. With a proper load calculation for the right-sized system, you’ll get improved comfort with great efficiency. A basic load calculation takes into account your home’s foundation, roof color, insulation, window type and square footage.
Customize your modern home with energy saving appliances.
While older homes have their charm, building a new house is a unique opportunity to customize building materials, layouts and add-ons that can make your home more energy efficient.
When shopping for the fixtures and appliances you’ll be installing in your new home, make sure to think about both the initial and long-term cost. Less efficient appliances may be cheaper up front, but be more expensive when lifetime energy usage is taken into account.
Consider these energy efficient fixtures and appliances for your home
Programmable thermostats: A programmable thermostat can be set to change the target temperature throughout the day to account for times when your family is at work, school or sleeping. If you’re looking for more, consider a remote thermostat, like the ComfortLink™ II which can be paired with the Nexia™ system and your smartphone, tablet or desktop computer to control your HVAC system from anywhere.
Low-flow water fixtures: Low-flow shower heads, toilets and other water fixtures can help reduce manage your water usage. Ask your plumber for recommendations that will provide the right balance of comfort and efficiency for you.
Tankless water heaters: Tankless water heaters instantly heat up water as you need it, which is more efficient than keeping a tank of water hot all the time. While tankless water heaters can reduce your energy bill, they are currently more expensive than traditional water heaters. If you’re considering a tankless system, do some research to make sure the long-term energy savings will make up for the difference in price.
Efficient appliances: When shopping for appliances like stoves, refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines and dryers, make sure to consider the estimated annual energy usage of each. Look for ENERGY STAR certified products to keep gas and electric costs down and minimize the total lifetime cost of your appliances.
The heat is on! It’s time to make a game plan for saving energy this summer and avoiding skyrocketing electricity bills. Here are a variety of ways you can offset the season’s rising temperatures.
1. Fan Yourself
Buying stand, box or ceiling fans is a small investment that can reduce your energy costs. Using fans to help cool your home means you can raise the thermostat setting by 4 degrees without reducing your comfort level. Just remember to turn off the fans when you’re not in the room. They aren’t intended to cool the space — just the people in the space, via the wind chill effect.
2. Optimize Your Thermostat Setting
According to the Department of Energy, setting your thermostat at 78 degrees in the summer can save you up to 10% in energy costs each year. If 78 degrees is too warm for you, you can adjust it a bit lower to be comfortable. Just remember that for every degree you raise your thermostat above 72 degrees, you save up to 3% of your cooling expenses.
Consider getting a programmable thermostat, so you can program a warmer setting when you’re not home and automatically start cooling your home right before you get back. If you’re into technology, try a wireless remote thermostat, like the ComfortLink™ II, that can be paired with the Nexia™ system and your smartphone, tablet or desktop computer to control your air conditioner from wherever you are.
3. Upgrade Your Air Conditioner and Appliances
If you’re ready to take your summer energy savings to the next level, go for a system upgrade. Heating and cooling uses nearly half of the energy in your home, so investing in an energy efficient system is a smart move that will save you money in the long run.
When you’re upgrading your air conditioner, look for Energy Star certified systems that have a high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) and Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) ratings. They’ll be 15% more efficient than other models. While you’re going green, think about upgrading your entire home with Energy Star appliances. At the very least, schedule seasonal maintenance for your air conditioner and other systems, so they’re working their best.
4. Go Low Flow
In the summer, water usage usually increases — whether it’s watering your lawn or taking more post-swim showers. Keep outdoor watering costs down by only watering grass and plants in the early morning or at dusk, so the water doesn’t evaporate in the summer heat. Another secret to having an energy efficient home is installing low-flow water fixtures. These work well on shower heads, toilets and even your outdoor sprinkler.
5. Wash with Cold Water
Here’s a quick summertime money saver. Change up your laundry routine by only washing and rinsing your clothes with cold water. If you do it year round, it could save you around $200 annually.
6. Close the Blinds & Check Your Seals
Kicking up the AC isn’t the only way to keep your home cooler in the hot summer months. Take a quick walk around the house and close all the blinds and curtains. This will keep your rooms from heating up too much and being super hard to cool with your air conditioner or fan. Another tip to keep warm air outside is to add weather stripping to your doors and windows.
7. Keep Your Fridge Cool
Your refrigerator and freezer are essential to keeping your lemonade and popsicles cold all summer long. So, here are few tips to save on your energy bill by maintaining your refrigerator properly. Set the thermostat between 35 and 38 degrees for the refrigerator and between 0 and 5 degrees for the freezer. Check the door seal and vacuum the coils. Make sure your fridge is always full of food (or even just jugs of water), so there’s less air space for it to have to cool.
8. Relax and Unplug
Keep your electronics from sucking up all your summer energy by unplugging your chargers, TV, computer and other small electronics when you’re not using them. It’s an easy way to save up to $100 a year, according to the Department of Energy.
9. Dine Out
Whether you’re grilling a great meal or treating yourself to dinner at your favorite restaurant, steering clear of your kitchen in the summer can reduce your energy bill. Using kitchen appliances can raise the temperature by 10 degrees. Not only will you reduce the energy you use to run those appliances, but you’ll also save on air conditioning costs to cool down your home.
Now that you’ve got a variety of energy-saving ideas that range from new habits to efficient upgrades, challenge yourself to see if you can lower your energy costs this summer. Then use those savings for a weekend vacation in the fall!
It might take a little extra work to get your home ready for vacation, but you’ll be able to relax more once you’re at your destination. Consider this your checklist for peace-of-mind while you’re getting away.
Don’t Leave Any Clues for Thieves
Vacation season is prime time for criminals to make a visit. Take a few precautions to make your home look lived-in while you’re away.
Park at least one car in the driveway, so it looks like someone’s at home
Hold all mail and packages or ask a neighbor to bring in your deliveries
Bring in your spare keys
Put your lights on a timer to mimic your family’s typical schedule
Mow your lawn and trim hedges
Set up smart locks for helpful neighbors and pet sitters
Play it safe and don’t mention your travel plans on social media
Pre-Clean Your House
Nobody wants to come home to a stinky situation. Keep your vacation vibe going by taking time to tidy up before you head out. That way you can come home and rest, instead of cleaning up a mess.
Clean out the refrigerator and freezer (before you take out the trash!)
Take out the trash — check every room
Vacuum, dust and wipe down counters and sinks
Make your bed, so you can sink right in when you get back
Set Everything to Energy-Saving Mode
If you’re gone for 3 days or more, take a vacation from your electric bill by dialing back your energy usage.
Set thermostats up to 85 degrees in the summer and as low as 55 degrees in the winter. If you have pets staying at home while you’re gone, choose a setting that will still keep them comfortable.
If you use smart home automation, turn your thermostat off completely so it won’t turn on every time your neighbor brings in the mail. Again, if you have pets staying in the house, keep the thermostat on and set at a comfortable temperature.
Unplug small electronics, especially chargers, which continually draw electricity and can increase your electric bill.
Close blinds and curtains to keep your house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Then your air conditioner and heater won’t have to work too hard while you’re on vacation.
Put the water heater on vacation mode if it has that option, so it operates more efficiently and gets a well-deserved break (like you!)
Checked everything off? Then you’re all set. Enjoy your vacation and relax knowing you’ll come back to happy home and lower energy bill.
Does ENERGY STAR Qualified Matter When I Shop for New Appliances?
See how energy efficient appliances can save you money in the long run
The answer is yes — for several reasons. Here’s when ENERGY STAR qualified appliances matter most.
Replacing Really Old Appliances
Getting rid of a 3-year-old dishwasher might not be worth the higher price tag for ENERGY STAR qualified appliances. But if your appliances are at the end of their life, definitely look for the ENERGY STAR label.
New, energy-efficient appliances can help you save money on energy bills over the next 10-20 years. And saving even a little on your energy bill goes a long way when you consider that refrigerators last an average of 12 years, washing machines about 11 years and HVAC systems around 15-20 years.
When you see the ENERGY STAR logo qualified on a product, it means that the product meets specific standards for energy efficiency that often exceed the federal minimum standards. You should also check out the yellow EnergyGuide label on appliances. This gives you detailed information about the annual energy consumption and operating cost, so you can comparison shop.
Building a New House
Start off on the right foot and go green with an ENERGY STAR home. If you’re building your energy efficient dream home, using ENERGY STAR as a guide to make decisions that can help you save money on energy costs. Plus, you’ll save even more because you’re getting a whole house full of new, energy efficient appliances!
When comparing the energy usage for each appliance in your home, you can see exactly where choosing ENERGY STAR qualified products can have the biggest impact. Here’s a quick look at the top 10 appliances in homes and how much energy they use, as reported by Connect4Climate:
Heating & Cooling
Washer & Dryer
TV, Cable, DVD
Trying to Save Energy and the Environment
You’ll feel good about buying ENERGY STAR qualified appliances if saving the planet is your top priority. ENERGY STAR was started in 1992 as part of the federal Clean Air Act. It’s a voluntary program run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with the goal of identifying and promoting energy-efficient products and buildings to consumers, so they can reduce energy consumption and pollution.
ENERGY STAR helps Americans save billions of kilowatt hours of electricity each year and reduces millions of metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Buying ENERGY STAR products is a great way to go green and help protect your environment.
Ready to start shopping?
There are a lot of high-quality energy efficient products that can save energy in your home. That’s why the experts at ENERGY STAR created a helpful guide to shopping for ENERGY STAR qualified appliances, as well other eco-friendly items for your home. Their guide covers everything from kitchen appliances to heating and air conditioning to light bulbs.