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 2016, EPA oversaw robust third-party certification of ENERGY STAR products, administered by 23 independent certification bodies and more than 600 labs. EPA also requires that a sample of products be tested directly off retailers’ shelves. Last year, more than 1,800 products were tested; 95 percent passed, affirming consumer confidence in the label. Learn more about how EPA ensures ENERGY STAR’s program integrity.
EPA provides a single national platform for utilities and local governments
Nationwide, utilities invested $7.7 billion in energy efficiency programs in 2015.1 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. Nearly 700 utilities—serving roughly 85% of American households—partner with ENERGY STAR, providing consistency and uniformity to the private market.
Additionally, as of last year, 23 local governments and two 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. Last year, 2,000 manufacturers and 2,600 retailers partnered with ENERGY STAR to make and sell ENERGY STAR certified products across more than 75 categories. In fact, Americans purchased more than 300 million ENERGY STAR certified products in 2015, with a sales value of more than $100 billion. Since the program began in 1992, more than 5.5 billion ENERGY STAR certified products have been sold.
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. For example, in 2016, EPA updated performance requirements for four product categories and added five new product categories. Nineteen additions and revisions to the product categories are currently underway. In 2016, more than 2,000 product models from more than 130 manufacturers were recognized as “ENERGY STAR Most Efficient,” a distinction that recognizes 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 energy-saving 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 MOU.
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 MOU 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 customer service.
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. 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 New Homes, 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 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 Home Performance with ENERGY STAR.
- The 2016 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, ACEEE, 2016, http://aceee.org/research-report/u1606