Smarter Business: Standards & Metrics

Energy Star

Key Facts

In 1992 the EPA introduced ENERGY STAR as a voluntary labeling program designed to identify energy-efficient products that help businesses and households save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In 1996, EPA partnered with the DOE in order to broaden the product categories included in the program, adding to the computers, monitors and other office products already bearing the ENERGY STAR label. Today the ENERGY STAR label is featured on over 60 product categories (and thousands of models) for the office and home, including a wide variety of major appliances, lighting, office equipment, and even commercial and industrial buildings.

ENERGY STAR has partnered with more than 20,000 private and public sector organizations to provide technical information and tools that help businesses choose more efficient products and best management practices. In 2010 alone, ENERGY STAR has helped businesses, organizations, and consumers nationwide save approximately $18 billion on their utility bills. Since the program's inception, Americans have saved over $660 billion, avoided close to 9 trillion pounds of greenhouse gases and conserved almost 5.5 trillion kilowatt hours of electricity (as well as saving thousands of gallons of water by using more efficient dishwashers and other appliances).

Pros & Cons


  • ENERGY STAR is a very comprehensive standard with an incredible variety of labeled products, tools and services. More than 75,000 families have made their homes more efficient and livable with the comprehensive Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program.
  • The label is clear, easy to understand and widely-recognized. There are also many government and utility programs that provide tax credits to encourage the purchase of Energy Star products. 
  • There are extensive online resources that aid businesses and households in making energy cuts.


  • ENERGY STAR does not rank products based on efficiency and simply labels all products above a certain threshold. Therefore, businesses and individuals often need to compare the many ENERGY STAR labeled products within a specific category to determine the most efficient product available. Within certain product categories TopTen USA helps solve this problem by identifying the most efficient products in the U.S. market.


Find out more about how products earn the ENERGY STAR label.

Read about the huge savings of businesses like Sears Holdings, Boeing and Nissan.

Start cutting your organization's energy costs by partnering with ENERGY STAR.

NRDC's David Goldstein discusses the Rebound Effect and why energy efficiency is a win-win for the pocket-book and the environment.

last revised 6/16/2011

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