On December 1, EPA announced new requirements for residential geothermal heat pumps (GHPs), enabling water-to-water geothermal heat pumps to earn the ENERGY STAR label for the first time. EPA's stringent specifications for this new category of geothermal heat pumps will help protect the environment and reduce energy costs, because GHPs that meet the new standards will be up to 45% more efficient than conventional systems. Homeowners who install geothermal heat pumps with the ENERGY STAR are eligible for a 30 percent federal tax credit.
Ten years ago, EPA unveiled a ground-breaking development in energy efficiency for the commercial marketplace – the first ENERGY STAR building. In the decade since, EPA has changed the face of how energy use is evaluated and recognized. To celebrate this landmark anniversary, EPA is releasing a retrospective of the ENERGY STAR buildings program which also highlights a collection of noteworthy buildings out of the thousands that have earned the ENERGY STAR label since 1999.
On September 30, 2009, the EPA and DOE signed a new agreement designed to enhance and strengthen the trusted ENERGY STAR program.
Audio/video (AV) equipment that meets EPA's new, more stringent specification will be up to 60% more efficient than conventional models. The new requirements for Audio and Video equipment now covers a wider range of products such as: Home-Theater-in-a-Box (HTIB), audio amplifiers, AV receivers, Shelf systems, DVD players, Blu Ray players, and docking stations — that offer audio amplification or optical disc drive functions. Commercial AV products are also covered.
The US EPA announced that 1 million ENERGY STAR qualified homes have been built in the United States. This year, families living in ENERGY STAR qualified homes will save more than $270 million on their utility bills, while avoiding greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from about 370,000 vehicles. There are more than 6,500 builders across the nation building homes that earn the ENERGY STAR label and qualified new homes can be found in every state in the country.
Manufacturing plants that make container and food items in the US can now earn EPA's ENERGY STAR for superior energy efficiency. The new Energy Performance Indicators (EPIs) for flat and container glass manufacturing plants and juice and frozen fried potato processing plants are the first of their kind for these industries. The U.S. glass industry spends more than $2 billion annually on energy while the food processing sector spends nearly $7 billion per year. Improving the energy efficiency of these industries by just 10% would save nearly $900 million in energy costs and more than 150 trillion btu while reducing greenhouse gas emissions equal to those from the electricity use of more than 1 million homes for a year.
EPA is kicking off “Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR” events this fall across the U.S. empowering kids and their families to fight global warming while saving energy and money. Events include educational projects with young people nationwide through EPA's partnerships with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) and Parent Teacher Organizations Today (PTO Today) in conjunction with a national tour of the ENERGY STAR Exhibit House showcasing ways to save energy at home. BGCA kids in 60 locations are conducting energy check-ups at homes in their communities and educating their peers and families about energy efficiency. Through PTO Today, EPA is reaching out to 6,000 schools across America with “Go Green Nights” to help families learn about energy-efficient changes they can make in their homes and schools to save energy and help fight global warming.
EPA announced eleven 2009 ENERGY STAR Small Business and Congregations Award Winners. This year's winners are recognized for their efforts to fight global warming through the use of effective energy management practices and innovative efficiency solutions in their buildings. Together, these award-winning organizations reduced annual greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from the average electricity use of more than 1,000 homes. The winners also reaped significant financial benefits, even in the face of expanded business operations. Financial savings for this year's winners totaled nearly $900,000 annually.
EPA has revised the qualifications for televisions to achieve the ENERGY STAR label, requiring TVs to be 40% more energy efficient than conventional models. These requirements will help consumers save even more energy and money and fight climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions while allowing them to continue to enjoy the features, performance and quality they expect. Televisions meeting EPA's new, more stringent ENERGY STAR specifications will be available in stores nationwide starting May 1, 2010.
During the back to school season, EPA is challenging school administrators and building managers to improve energy efficiency throughout their facilities. School districts can answer EPA's call-to-action by taking the ENERGY STAR Challenge, a pledge to improve the energy efficiency of our nation's buildings. Schools that accept the challenge will join more than 500 school districts across the country that are helping to fight climate change by committing to reducing their energy use with help from ENERGY STAR.
America's houses of worship can now save energy and reduce their carbon footprint with expanded tools available from EPA's ENERGY STAR Program. Enhancements to Portfolio Manager, the agency's popular energy tracking tool for commercial facilities, allow houses of worship to track energy use and associated greenhouse gas emissions, set targets for investment priorities, and verify efficiency improvements. The estimated 370,000 religious worship facilities across the United States spend more than $3 billion annually on energy costs. Improving the energy efficiency of America's houses of worship by just 10% would save nearly 2 billion kilowatt-hours each year, preventing more than one million tons of greenhouse gas emissions and representing a cost savings of about $315 million annually.
On July 14, 2009 U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the availability of nearly $300 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for state-run rebate programs for consumer purchases of new ENERGY STAR qualified home appliances. The new program underscores the Obama Administration's commitment to make American homes more energy efficient, while helping to support the nation's economic recovery.
Both home builders and home buyers are continuing to invest in high performing homes that save consumers money on their utility bills, while helping to protect the environment. Nearly 17% of all single-family homes built nationally in 2008 earned EPA's ENERGY STAR label, up from 12% in 2007. In addition, market share for ENERGY STAR qualified homes was 20% or greater in 15 states in 2008, including Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Vermont.
EPA announced new ENERGY STAR requirements for computer servers. Computer servers that earn the ENERGY STAR will be, on average, 30% more energy efficient than standard servers. This specification is effective immediately. If all servers sold in the United States meet this new specification, energy cost savings would grow to $800 million per year and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from over one million vehicles.
EPA announced two new ENERGY STAR specifications: commercial griddles and ovens. The addition of these two new specifications expands the list of ENERGY STAR commercial kitchen equipment. If all commercial griddles and ovens sold in the United States meet the new ENERGY STAR specification, the energy costs savings would grow to more than $820 million per year and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those outputted from more than 880,000 vehicles.
With summer and the high costs of cooling right around the corner, EPA is offering advice to help Americans lower energy bills and greenhouse emissions. The energy used in an average home costs more than $2,200 a year and contributes more greenhouse emissions than a typical car. Americans can reduce these costs and greenhouse gas emissions by about one third through ENERGY STAR.
Public awareness of EPA's ENERGY STAR label remains strong, reaching more than 75% of U.S. households, according to a recent nationwide survey. Last year, more than 35% of US households knowingly purchased an ENERGY STAR labeled product, with 80% of purchasers reporting they are likely to recommend ENERGY STAR qualified products to others.
On April 18, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson kicked off the 2009 "Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR" campaign to educate kids and their families about how to save money and fight climate change through energy efficiency. This year, EPA is partnering with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and Parent-Teacher Organizations (PTO Today) to work with America's youth in the fight against climate change. Boys and Girls Clubs of America will engage its young members in service projects to educate youth and their communities about the benefits of energy efficiency.
EPA announced new ENERGY STAR requirements for commercial refrigerators and freezers which, on average, are more than 30% higher than federal minimum standards. If all commercial refrigerators and freezers sold in the United States met this ENERGY STAR specification, the energy bill savings would grow to $275 million per year, and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from nearly 400,000 vehicles. These requirements are effective January 1, 2010, the same date that new federal standards take effect. New to the scope of products covered under the ENERGY STAR Commercial Refrigerators and Freezers specification are glass door refrigerators and freezers — typically found in convenience stores, supermarkets and restaurants. Glass door models may begin qualifying as ENERGY STAR beginning April 1, 2009.
The U.S. Department of Energy encourages every American who owns an old, inefficient refrigerator or freezer to take another step — to save money, energy and the environment by properly recycling that old fridge or freezer and replacing it with a new ENERGY STAR qualified model.
EPA released a new report profiling leading organizations for reducing greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. The report: "Profiles in Leadership, 2009 ENERGY STAR Award Winners," highlights 89 organizations across many sectors of the U.S. economy, including schools, hospitals, real estate, manufacturing, chemicals, and home building. The report offers insights into this diverse set of winners and their energy-efficient approaches and practices. The awards will be presented on March 31, 2009 in Washington, D.C.
EPA has issued new requirements for computer monitors, digital picture frames and other displays to earn the ENERGY STAR label. On average, ENERGY STAR qualified products will be 20% more energy efficient than conventional options. If all displays sold in the United States meet this new specification, the energy savings would grow to about $1 billion each year and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from nearly 1.5 million vehicles.
The EPA is recognizing the first four pharmaceutical plants to earn the ENERGY STAR for performing in the top 25% of energy performance nationwide. Compared to similar pharmaceutical plants across the country, these facilities on average use nearly 35% less energy and together prevent the equivalent of 40,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
The plants are:
Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Washington DC, and Dallas-Fort Worth lead EPA's list of the twenty-five U.S. metropolitan areas with the largest numbers of buildings qualifying for EPA's ENERGY STAR in 2008. These buildings typically use 35% less energy and emit 35% less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than average buildings. In total the buildings and plants earning the ENERGY STAR in 2008 represent savings of more than $1 billion in utility bills and more than 7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
A new ENERGY STAR specification for cable, satellite, and telecommunications set-top boxes that deliver television and video content was effective on January 1, 2009. ENERGY STAR qualified set-top boxes are at least 30% more energy-efficient than conventional models. If all set-top boxes sold in the United States met the new ENERGY STAR requirements, the savings in energy costs would grow to about $2 billion each year and greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by the equivalent of those from about 2.5 million vehicles.