What Is "Energy Star Compliant"?

Charity Tober

The Energy Star program, established by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1992, was designed to reduce the inefficient use of energy on a national level and provide consumers with a way to identify energy-saving products. Products ranging from small household appliances up to a new house can earn the Energy Star label. The EPA states that new homes built to meet the strict energy-efficiency guidelines use 15 percent to 30 percent less energy than typical new homes.

Consumer Products

Image of a modern kitchen with new appliances.

Products can earn an Energy Star label by meeting the rigorous guidelines and testing required by the EPA. To earn the label, products must be tested and shown to offer significant energy savings over competitors' products without sacrificing performance or features. For example, an Energy Star-certified washing machine uses about 20 percent less energy and 35 percent less water than a regular washing machine, saving thousands of gallons of water over the machine's lifetime. An additional requirement is that if the Energy Star product is significantly more expensive than its competitors, consumers must be able to recover their investment through energy bill savings within a reasonable amount of time.