EPA's Role in ENERGY STAR

The ENERGY STAR program was established by EPA in 1992, under the authority of the Clean Air Act Section 103(g). Learn more about EPA’s statutory authority for ENERGY STAR.

EPA ensures unbiased credibility

EPA ensures that ENERGY STAR provides the trusted information critical to an efficient private market—information that American businesses and consumers rely on every day. Industry shares the data that EPA uses to set performance-based definitions of leadership in energy efficiency—a collaboration that would not be possible without the confidence ENERGY STAR business partners place in EPA. Guided by a set of well-tested principles, EPA acts as an impartial arbiter of energy performance to set objective criteria that are central to all aspects of the program.

Every ENERGY STAR label is independently certified, whether on a product, a home, a building, or a manufacturing plant. For example, in 2020, EPA oversaw robust third-party certification of ENERGY STAR products, administered by more than twenty independent certification bodies and more than 500 labs. EPA also requires that a sample of products be tested directly off retailers’ shelves. In 2021, over 2,000 products were tested; 96% passed. Learn more about how EPA ensures ENERGY STAR’s program integrity.

EPA provides a single national platform for utilities and local governments

Nationwide, utilities invest several billion dollars annually in energy efficiency programs. With hundreds of disparate utilities scattered around the country, EPA plays a critical unifying role to guide their energy efficiency programs. EPA enables utilities to leverage ENERGY STAR as a common national platform, avoiding the creation of hundreds of independent utility programs across the nation, which could fragment the market and stall innovation. Hundreds of utilities, state and local governments, and nonprofits leverage ENERGY STAR in their efficiency programs, reaching the vast majority of households in all 50 states and providing consistency and uniformity to the private market.

Many local governments and several states rely on EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager® tool as the foundation for their energy benchmarking and transparency policies, creating uniformity for businesses and reducing transaction and implementation costs.

EPA enables private markets to function more efficiently

Consumers, manufacturers, and retailers all rely on EPA as a trusted resource to highlight products that deliver real consumer savings and give partners the tools they need to differentiate their products. Thousands of manufacturers and retailers partner with ENERGY STAR to make and sell ENERGY STAR certified products across more than 75 categories. Many more facts and figures about ENERGY STAR can be found on ENERGY STAR Impacts.

EPA evolves ENERGY STAR to continue to deliver savings

As technology improves and industries change, EPA evolves ENERGY STAR with the market to deliver continued savings. In collaboration with private partners, EPA creates practical, technologically feasible definitions of leadership in efficiency—continually adapting to a changing marketplace without favoring one technology over another. In 2021, more than 3,800 products from over 220 manufacturers are recognized as “ENERGY STAR Most Efficient,” a distinction for products that deliver cutting-edge energy efficiency along with the latest in technological innovation. EPA also continues to advance residential new construction program requirements as states adopt more rigorous building codes.

EPA and DOE work together to implement the ENERGY STAR program

In 2009, EPA and DOE signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that redefined roles and responsibilities to address implementation challenges and capitalize on the strengths of each agency. Feedback from stakeholders has been positive on improvements in the program since the 2009 Memorandum of Understanding.

Prior to 2009, both EPA and DOE were implementing the program for different products, resulting in inconsistent approaches, duplicative efforts, and market confusion. The 2009 Memorandum of Understanding was designed to solve such problems raised by industry stakeholders. For example, a single manufacturer may be in contact with ENERGY STAR products on certifying their products, ENERGY STAR commercial on their buildings, and ENERGY STAR industrial on their manufacturing facilities. By having all those programs combined within EPA, industry participants experience a streamlined and efficient partner experience.

In response to a request from Congress, EPA and DOE have reviewed the success of the realignment of responsibilities for ENERGY STAR under the 2009 MOU. Transmitted to Congress in March 2022, the report (PDF. 2.2 MB) concludes that realigning Agency roles for the ENERGY STAR products program has capitalized on each Agency’s expertise and facilitated anticipated program improvements to the benefit of American consumers, ENERGY STAR partners, including the appliance industry, and the environment. The report further emphasizes improved coordination between EPA and DOE, including an integrated plan for each year that addresses test procedure (DOE) and specification (EPA) development efforts across all product categories. DOE and EPA have improved coordination on test procedure development planning so as to anticipate future technological innovation and have recently performed a review of data submittal requirements in an effort to streamline reporting requirements and reduce manufacturer burden. EPA and DOE remain committed to continuing to improve the ENERGY STAR program in response to industry and stakeholder feedback as well as improving coordination between the two agencies.

EPA is the ENERGY STAR brand manager and is accountable for maintaining the integrity of the label. For ENERGY STAR products, EPA is responsible for setting product performance levels, educating consumers and businesses, and supporting the efforts of manufacturers, retailers, and utilities. EPA also oversees third-party certification and verification testing. Across the more than 75 product categories, EPA has demonstrated accessibility and transparency in the implementation of the ENERGY STAR products program. EPA also is responsible for the ENERGY STAR Residential New Construction, Commercial, and Industrial programs, including ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.

For ENERGY STAR products, DOE develops test procedures for ENERGY STAR products and contributes to verification testing of appliances and equipment. DOE also sets minimum, mandatory energy efficiency standards for some products through a regulatory process. EPA and DOE work closely to share data and analyses, synchronize timing, and coordinate requests to industry in the development of both the voluntary ENERGY STAR specifications and the DOE minimum efficiency standards. DOE is also responsible for implementing Home Performance with ENERGY STAR.

For additional details about ENERGY STAR achievements see ENERGY STAR Impacts. For ENERGY STAR facts and figures broken down geographically by state, see ENERGY STAR State Fact Sheets. For achievements by ENERGY STAR Award Winners, see the ENERGY STAR Award Winners Page.