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So what does that Energy Star sticker mean?

The Energy Star program, managed by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), identifies appliances that reach certain energy efficiency standards. That means they are designed to perform just as well as standard appliances, while also saving you money.

How do I identify an appliance that is Energy Star-certified?

Energy Star products are marked with a sticker like the one to the right. They’re tested according to the EPA’s standards, not just for energy efficiency but performance as well. For example, Energy Star LED light bulbs don’t compromise brightness just to use less energy.

Energy Star appliances also come with two price tags: the purchase price (what the product itself costs) and the operating price (the monthly energy and/or water costs you incur by using the product). Remember, there could be additional discounts for some of these products, thanks to efficiency incentives fought for by CUB and other consumer advocates fought for. See below.

What should I consider before purchasing Energy Star appliances?

Before you buy an Energy Star appliance, ask yourself these questions first.

  • What will I pay upfront? Energy Star appliances may be more expensive upfront than a less efficient appliance, so you need to weigh your own finances and see how much you’re willing to dish out for a better payoff over time. Remember, your utility bills could be higher because your appliances are out of date, so paying more up front now could save you more in the long run. That being said, be sure to read all the details about how long particular appliances are expected to last, and what maintenance will be required for them.
  • What utility programs could help me save even more money with the appliance? ComEd and Ameren both offer rebates and incentives for customers who upgrade to energy efficient appliances. Check out CUB’s fact sheets on ComEd and Ameren’s energy efficiency incentives.

What are some popular Energy Star items?  

  • Refrigerators-Energy Star refrigerators are 9 percent more efficient than the federal standard, which can save you more than $270 over five years.
  • Clothes Washers/Dryers-Cut down on laundry time by using less water and heat. Energy Star washers and dryers are also more gentle on your clothes, but more importantly can save you over $370 in a lifetime.
  • Smart Thermostats-By adjusting your home’s temperature remotely throughout the day, especially when you’re not home, you can save up to 20 percent on your energy bills.
  • Light Bulbs-Use up to 90 percent less energy than standard light bulbs, but the bulbs actually last 15 times longer. That’s about $60 in savings over a lifetime.
  • Room Air Conditioners-Newer room air conditioners better reduce air loss, and only cost you about $70 a year to run.

With nearly 20,000 products certified by Energy Star annually, you have plenty of options to choose from! Click here for a full list of Energy Star products.