Home > News Room > Fall 2007 ENERGY STAR News

A Bright Idea: Change a Light and Change the World

The ENERGY STAR Change a Light, Change the World Campaign is a national call-to-action from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to encourage every individual to help change the world, one light — one energy-saving step — at a time.

compact flourescent light bulb

This year there is an ENERGY STAR Change a Light Bus Tour that will kick off on Wednesday October 3. It will be stopping at special events hosted by ENERGY STAR partners in ten cities over the course of 20 days. This national bus tour will include 16 tour stops and anticipates that more than 850,000 Americans will pledge to replace more than 2 million lights! Its goal is to inspire individuals coast-to-coast to save energy and join the fight against global warming.

Key supporters of the campaign include leading lighting manufacturers, utilities, retailers, non-profit organizations, government agencies, schools, community groups, and others that will join together to promote energy-efficient lighting programs and events this fall in support of the nationwide effort.

At the campaign's heart is the Change a Light Pledge: a way for individuals to commit to being more energy efficient, starting by switching at least one light in their home to one that has earned the government's ENERGY STAR label. If every U.S. household replaced just one light with an ENERGY STAR-qualified compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL), every year we could:

  • Prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions from 800,000+ cars
  • Save enough energy to light 3 million homes
  • Save more than $600 million in energy costs

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EPA Releases ENERGY STAR and Other Climate Protection Partnerships 2006 Annual Report

In 2006, Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, avoided greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 25 million automobiles in 2006 — up from 23 million in 2005 — while saving more than $14 billion on their energy bills. In addition, Americans also saved a significant amount of energy in 2006 — 170 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) — or almost 5 percent of the total 2006 electricity demand.

The report PDF (2.20MB), just released in September, details the environmental and economic accomplishments of these programs and outlines goals for 2007 and beyond. The Climate Leaders Program grew to over 100 companies representing more than 8 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

Visit www.epa.gov/appdstar/annualreports/annualreports.htm to obtain a copy of the 2006 report and/or reports from previous years.

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ENERGY STAR Tool Offers an Inside Look at the Climate Change Impact of Buildings

Estimating the carbon footprint of commercial buildings has just become easier. Portfolio Manager, EPA's on-line energy rating system for commercial buildings, has been updated to include greenhouse gas emission factors, enabling users to estimate the carbon footprint of their commercial buildings. The updated ratings show that ENERGY STAR buildings, which use an average of 35 percent less energy than typical buildings, also emit 35 percent less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

With the integration of eGRID into EPA's Portfolio Manager, businesses can see how the CO2 emissions of their buildings compare to others in their same region and across the country. This allows organizations to assess and address the climate change impact of their buildings according to standardized protocols, prioritize energy efficiency improvements, and lessen the impact on the environment.

For more information on eGRID and Portfolio Manager, please visit Portfolio Manager Overview.

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Small Businesses and Congregations Honored by EPA for Energy Savings

Small businesses and congregations across the nation are making energy-efficient upgrades to their facilities to save money and drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Each year, the ENERGY STAR program recognizes small businesses and congregations for their outstanding facility upgrades.

During the month of September, EPA honored outstanding small businesses and congregations for their dedication to energy efficiency. One of the recipients of the award was Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, located in Monroe, MI, which houses 240 retired sisters. The convent has made a variety of upgrades, including the installation of a ground-source geothermal heating and cooling system which relies primarily on the Earth's natural thermal energy to heat or cool the facility. It has also created a wetlands area to support a gray water plumbing system. This system circulates water from showers and sinks to the wetlands to be naturally filtered and then returned to flush toilets.

The convent uses ENERGY STAR qualified products when possible and has retrofitted over 100 historic light fixtures for CFL bulbs. It has also created a "Green Room" full of visuals to educate visitors about the importance of environmental sustainability.

Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, together with eight other small businesses and two congregations who received the awards in September, will collectively save more than $1.2 million in annual energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 1,600 vehicles.

To view a complete listing of ENERGY STAR Small Business or Congregation Award recipients, visit www.energystar.gov.

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EPA Raises Energy Bar for Computers and Datacenters

The ENERGY STAR program's work with the electronics industry took several steps forward this summer. Beginning on July 20, 2007, the ENERGY STAR program's new specifications for computers went into effect. Qualified products must now meet energy use guidelines in three distinct operating modes: standby, sleep mode, and while computers are being used. This approach ensures energy savings when a computer is active and performing a range of tasks, as well as when it is standing by. Newly qualified computers must also include a more efficient internal power supply.

On August 2, 2007 EPA released its report to Congress assessing opportunities for energy efficiency improvements for computer servers and datacenters in the United States. Datacenters consumed about 61 billion kWh in 2006, roughly 1.5 percent of total U.S. electricity consumption, or about $4.5 billion in electricity costs. Assuming current trends continue, these national consumption figures are expected to nearly double by 2011. For more information on this report and to hear a variety of business perspectives, listen to EPA's podcast. EPA's Andrew Fanara is joined by four datacenter experts to discuss ways that manufacturers and users can save energy with better products and design. Servers power computing tasks throughout the world-from basic web surfing, to running applications at work, to bank transactions and online purchases.

For more information on ENERGY STAR specifications, visit Revisions to Existing Specifications.

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