On July 19, EPA Administrator Christie Whitman joined David Garman, Assistant Secretary of the Department of Energy and Neil MacLeod, Director General of Natural Resources Canada to announce an historic agreement between the agencies to bring the ENERGY STAR Program to Canada. This agreement covers many ENERGY STAR labeled products including office equipment, home electronics, home appliances, and heating and cooling equipment. This agreement further helps to establish ENERGY STAR as the international symbol for energy efficiency.
On July 31, President Bush signed an Executive Order requiring all federal agencies to purchase products and appliances that meet a new 1-watt standby standard (down from an average of 4 to 7 watts), wherever cost-effective. View the Executive Order.
The Executive Order was signed three days after President Bush highlighted ENERGY STAR as a central part of the Administration’s efforts to promote energy conservation. Bush focused on “standby power,” the energy consumed by electronic equipment and small household appliances that are turned “off.” Many common household appliances, such as televisions, VCRs, telephones, computers, cordless phones, answering machines, and dustbusters use standby power. An appliance will consume standby power if it has remote control, an external power supply, a digital display, a soft-touch keypad, or battery charging features.
Standby power is now responsible for about 5% of residential electricity. President Bush wants to slay these “vampires” that continuously “suck” energy from electrical outlets, and unnecessarily waste energy. The President also said the new one-watt standard must be incorporated into the qualifications necessary to earn the ENERGY STAR label explaining “ENERGY STAR is an important marketing tool, because it says to energy-conscious consumers this product makes sense; this product incorporates the latest technology to conserve energy.”
On June 25, the Today Show ran a 5-minute segment on the ENERGY STAR label for consumer products. In the piece, news anchor Ann Curry interviewed Janice Lieberman, a consumer reporter. ENERGY STAR labeled products that were highlighted included TVs, VCRs, DVDs, light bulbs, washing machines, refrigerators, and dishwashers. The Today Show Web site also featured information and a link to the ENERGY STAR Web site.
Having identified significant opportunities to make ceiling fans more energy efficient, including using better motors, better blade designs, and compact fluorescent light sources, ENERGY STAR is developing a draft specification for labeling ceiling fans.
ENERGY STAR is currently working with more than a dozen ceiling fan manufacturers and retailers to develop an effective specification to address both energy efficiency and the noise most ceiling fans produce. A recent meeting between ENERGY STAR and industry representatives yielded the following timeline for development of the specification:
Ceiling fans with the ENERGY STAR label should be available for use in your home by early 2002. The draft specification is available for comment on the Products in Development section of this Web site. Please direct any questions or comments to Andrew Fanara at firstname.lastname@example.org
EPA is pleased to introduce the ENERGY STAR label for ventilating fans. ENERGY STAR labeled residential ventilating fans perform better, last longer, and are less noisy than standard models, thanks to their energy-efficient motors. On average, labeled fans consume 67% less energy than conventional models. If labeled fans were installed in all 200 million homes in the US, energy savings would exceed 300 million kWh per year — equivalent to removing the emissions from at least 60,000 cars or planting more than 80,000 trees annually.
For more information about ENERGY STAR labeled ventilating fans, or for a list of participating manufacturers, visit the ventilating fan page of this Web site.
Energy efficiency is on consumers’ minds these days, and retailers have been rallying around ENERGY STAR to help their customers save energy while promoting energy-saving products. According to a survey by one ENERGY STAR retail partner, Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse, 93% of Americans believe that saving energy is important both for the environment and their wallets, but many of them don’t know how to start. However, the survey found that when told about the ENERGY STAR program, more than 90% of Americans said they would look for the ENERGY STAR label on future purchases. (For more survey information, go to www.lowes.com.)
In response, Lowe’s has initiated a number of in-store ENERGY STAR educational initiatives this summer, including appliance promotions in their circulars and in-store point-of-purchase materials. This fall, they will also participate in ENERGY STAR’s “Change a Light, Change the World” national lighting promotion.
Lowe’s is not the only retailer to promote ENERGY STAR labeled products. Partners Wal-Mart, The Home Depot, Best Buy, and Sears are also turning up the volume, while other retail chains like Costco are considering partnerships to leverage ENERGY STAR benefits. Both Wal-Mart and The Home Depot are featuring national in-store educational activities this summer. Best Buy is sponsoring a number of ENERGY STAR promotional activities for appliances and home electronics, and Sears has just added an ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year feature on their homepage. Click the ENERGY STAR logo featured on Sears.com and you’re sent to a special ENERGY STAR educational page.
ENERGY STAR is excited about its retail partners taking such a proactive role in supporting energy-efficiency education. Retailers have tremendous influence in the marketplace among consumers: Wal-Mart, The Home Depot, and Lowe’s alone reach close to 200 million customers per month. So keep a look out when shopping this summer—energy-saving opportunities are on their way to a store near you.