What's the Difference Between the Energy Guide and ENERGY STAR?

Ever wondered what the difference is between the EnergyGuide label and the ENERGY STAR label? For starters, one is yellow and one is blue, but there is more to it than that.

EnergyGuide Label

Who: Managed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

Purpose: Estimates annual energy use and operating cost of the product

How to spot it: Yellow sticker or tag found on product

Manufacturers are required to display the EnergyGuide label on a long list of energy-using products, including appliances, heating and cooling equipment, and televisions. Its purpose is to provide potential purchasers an estimate of annual energy consumption and a sense of where the product ranks compared to others in terms of annual energy cost. The dollar amount at the bottom of the EnergyGuide is the estimated yearly operating cost based on the national average cost of electricity. Your exact costs will depend on local utility rates and the type and source of your energy. If you need another copy of the EnergyGuide label, check your retailer or manufacturer's website.

Benefit: The EnergyGuide is useful for directly comparing the energy use of similar models in the store.


Who: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Purpose:  Designates highly efficient products

How to spot it: Blue, square label

The ENERGY STAR label saves you the effort needed to process all the information on the EnergyGuide sticker by simply designating the products that are highly efficient. When you see a product that has earned the ENERGY STAR, it means it meets strict guidelines for energy savings set by the EPA. Only manufacturers that independently certify their product’s performance are allowed to use it. (And when they do, you’ll find that manufacturers sometimes incorporate the ENERGY STAR label right into the EnergyGuide label, giving you the best of both worlds).

Benefit: The ENERGY STAR makes it easy to identify the most energy-efficient products that offer savings on energy bills without sacrificing performance, features, and comfort.

Advice for Shopping 

Both the EnergyGuide and the ENERGY STAR labels are intended to help you make smart energy choices. Used in conjunction, these labels can help you choose which product is right for you. The ENERGY STAR label will help you easily identify which products are the most efficient options, and then the EnergyGuide can be used to directly compare your top choices and give you an estimate of the energy use and operating cost. Saving energy is good for your wallet and good for the climate.

Happy shopping!

Author: Ann Bailey