What is ENERGY STAR
ENERGY STAR® is the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency, providing simple, credible, and unbiased information that consumers and businesses rely on to make well-informed decisions. Thousands of industrial, commercial, utility, state, and local organizations—including nearly 40% of the Fortune 500®—partner with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to deliver cost-saving energy efficiency solutions that protect the climate while improving air quality and protecting public health. Since 1992, ENERGY STAR and its partners have helped American families and businesses save 5 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity, avoid more than $500 billion in energy costs, and achieve 4 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas reductions. Over the lifetime of the program, every dollar EPA has spent on ENERGY STAR resulted in nearly $350 in energy cost savings for American business and households. In 2020 alone, ENERGY STAR and its partners helped Americans save more than 520 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity and avoid $42 billion in energy costs.
ENERGY STAR products
ENERGY STAR is the simple choice for energy efficiency, making it easy for consumers and businesses to purchase products that save them money and protect the environment. EPA ensures that each product that earns the label is independently certified to deliver the efficiency performance and savings that consumers have come to expect. It’s that integrity that led Americans to purchase more than 300 million ENERGY STAR certified products in 2020 and more than 300 million ENERGY STAR certified light bulbs, with a market value of more than $100 billion. In fact, an average of 800,000 ENERGY STAR certified products was sold every day in 2020, bringing the total to more than 7 billion products sold since 1992. Learn more about ENERGY STAR products.
ENERGY STAR for buildings and plants
ENERGY STAR tools and resources help businesses identify cost-effective approaches to managing energy use in their buildings and plants—enabling the private sector to save energy, increase profits, and strengthen their competitiveness. From commercial properties such as hospitals, schools, offices, and tenant spaces to industrial facilities such as cookie and cracker bakeries and integrated steel mills, thousands of businesses and organizations look to ENERGY STAR for guidance on strategic energy management.
The program’s popular online tool, ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager®, was used in 2021 to measure and track the energy, water, and/or waste and materials of more than 280,000 commercial properties, comprising nearly 27 billion square feet of floorspace, across the nation. For eligible buildings, the tool calculates a 1–100 ENERGY STAR score, which has become the industry standard for rating a facility’s energy performance. EPA’s ENERGY STAR tools for industrial plants include industry-specific Energy Performance Indicators (EPIs), which provide companies with the information they need to make smart investment decisions. ENERGY STAR Tenant Space is a new EPA recognition to reduce utility bills and greenhouse gas emissions in leased spaces.
ENERGY STAR for the Residential Sector
ENERGY STAR certified homes and apartments are at least 10% more energy efficient than those built to code and achieve a 20% improvement on average while providing homeowners and residents with better quality, performance, and comfort. Nearly three thousand builders, developers, and manufactured housing plants are ENERGY STAR partners, including all of the nation’s twenty largest home builders. Over 2.3 million ENERGY STAR certified homes have been built to date, including more than 120,000 in 2021 alone. EPA also provides trusted guidance and online tools to help homeowners make smart decisions about improving the energy efficiency of their existing homes. Learn more about ENERGY STAR for the residential sector.
Utilities and local governments rely on ENERGY STAR
Nationwide, utilities invested $7.6 billion in energy efficiency programs in 2020. With hundreds of different 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. More than 840 utilities, state and local governments, and nonprofits leverage ENERGY STAR in their efficiency programs, reaching roughly 95% of households in all 50 states.
Additionally, as of the end of 2021, 39 local governments, four states, and one Canadian province rely on EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager® tool as the foundation for their energy benchmarking and transparency policies and/or building performance standards, creating uniformity for businesses and reducing transaction and implementation costs.
ENERGY STAR, jobs, and the economy
ENERGY STAR supports the transition to a clean energy economy by fostering jobs and economic development, greater competitiveness, and a healthy environment. ENERGY STAR certified products, homes, buildings, and plants helped save Americans families and businesses more than 520 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity and avoid $42 billion in energy costs in 2020 alone. The ENERGY STAR Program leverages significant private investment – over the life of the program, every dollar EPA has spent on ENERGY STAR resulted in $230 invested by American businesses and households in energy efficient infrastructure and services.
Additionally, according to the U.S. Energy and Employment Report, over 700,000 Americans are employed in manufacturing or installing ENERGY STAR certified products -- roughly 35% of an estimated 2.1 million U.S. energy efficiency jobs in 2020. Moreover, by increasing energy efficiency, ENERGY STAR is supporting U.S. energy security and helping improve the reliability of the electricity grid.
ENERGY STAR and the environment
ENERGY STAR is an important tool in fighting climate change, improving air quality, and protecting public health. By reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants, ENERGY STAR also provides states and local governments with more flexibility and reduced costs towards meeting their climate, air quality, and public health goals. In 2020 alone, ENERGY STAR and its partners helped Americans save more than 520 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity and avoid $42 billion in energy costs. These savings resulted in associated emission reductions of more than 400 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, roughly equivalent to more than five percent of U.S. total greenhouse gas emissions. These savings also led to reductions of 210,000 short tons of sulfur dioxide, 210,000 short tons of nitrogen oxides, and 20,000 short tons of fine particulate matter (PM2.5). The avoided air pollution due to ENERGY STAR was responsible for an estimated $7 – 17 billion in public health benefits in 2019 alone. Since 1992, ENERGY STAR has helped reduce 4 billion metric tons in greenhouse gas reductions. Over the lifetime of the program, for every dollar of EPA investment, 3 metric tons of GHGs have been reduced.
ENERGY STAR and equity
Energy efficiency will be essential in making the clean energy transition affordable, inclusive, and achievable at the scale required to address climate change. The ENERGY STAR program is committed to promoting broader access to energy-saving products and home improvements among disadvantaged households. A key focus of the ENERGY STAR Home Upgrade – an initiative designed to scale up efficient electrification in the residential sector – is to facilitate innovative financing approaches designed to address barriers faced by the most energy burdened. A new web resource educates potential utility investors on one such approach – Inclusive Utility Investment – as an equitable and mutually beneficial method for deploying energy efficient home upgrades. ENERGY STAR also prioritizes outreach to low-income populations on products that have the greatest opportunity to save energy and dollars, such as lighting, refrigerators, and room air conditioners. The ENERGY STAR Best Value Finder tool helps consumers find these ENERGY STAR products at the best price. And for products that may be cost-prohibitive, the ENERGY STAR program looks for alternatives such as storm windows as a more affordable alternative to replacement windows. Paired with carefully researched bilingual messaging, utility-sponsored rebates, and geo-targeted advertising to encourage purchases, ENERGY STAR certified products can deliver significant cost savings for low-income families.
ENERGY STAR is also focused on increasing the energy efficiency of newly constructed affordable homes. Roughly 25% of ENERGY STAR builder partners work in the affordable housing space, including 520 Habitat for Humanity affiliates who have constructed more than 19,000 ENERGY STAR certified homes. ENERGY STAR also partners with 85 manufactured housing plants that have built more than 140,000 ENERGY STAR certified manufactured homes. Within the multifamily sector, more than 75 percent of ENERGY STAR multifamily high-rise projects are identified as affordable housing. In addition, ENERGY STAR home certification is used as criteria by more than 20 state government housing finance programs that provide low-income housing tax credits.
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.