The Energy Star logo is one of the most trusted labels for consumers looking to make environmentally conscious purchasing decisions. But the familiar blue-and-white stickers do not always indicate what consumers think.
Appliances that carry the label are among the most energy efficient in their category. And, generally speaking, consumers can save a lot of energy and money by choosing them over less efficient alternatives. Here are a few reasons why that is not always true.
I was talking to a co-worker recently about how to improve the efficiency of her new TV. She doesn’t watch much—certainly not the five hours a day that new TVs average—so the obvious answer of “Turn it off” wouldn’t have helped much.
If you know the difference between the Energy Guide label and the Energy Star label, you are in better shape than many consumers, even many energy-conscious ones. (If you can explain why it makes sense to have three different federal agencies administer two separate labeling programs with names and purposes so similar that even retailers get them confused, you’re a genius.)
A law that took effect last week requires new televisions for sale in retail showrooms to carry yellow Energy Guide labels, allowing consumers to evaluate and compare how much energy different models use and how much they cost to operate each year. My colleague Liz Judge blogged about the impact of these labels previously.
Your new appliance is more expensive to operate than you think.
Since 2007, certain household appliances have carried revamped yellow Energy Guide labels that contain two key features. The first is the estimated annual costs of powering the appliance. The second is a linear scale that enables you to compare that figure with the costs of operating similar models. Both of these are useful, but neither provides up-to-date information.