If you’re planning to purchase windows—or appliances, lighting, computers, or many other products—you’ve probably heard the term "ENERGY STAR" being tossed around. You may have been told that ENERGY STAR labeled products are more energy efficient and that they’ll help save you money on your home energy bills. But do you know what the ENERGY STAR program really is? Or what it means for a product to be ENERGY STAR qualified?
ENERGY STAR is a government/industry program designed to help consumers and businesses quickly and easily identify energy-efficient products that help save money and protect the environment for future generations.
In 1992, the EPA introduced ENERGY STAR as a voluntary labeling program designed to identify energy-efficient computers and monitors. Through 1995, EPA expanded the program to include additional office equipment, as well as residential heating and cooling products. In 1996, EPA partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy for specific product categories. It’s pretty amazing that the ENERGY STAR label is now displayed on over 40 product categories—everything from major appliances to office equipment, home lighting, home electronics, windows and more.
As for windows and doors, that specific ENERGY STAR program was created in 1999. Not all windows qualify for the ENERGY STAR label. They first must be tested by an independent laboratory to meet strict criteria pertaining to energy efficiency and light transmittance. The ratings they achieve differ because of variables such as the glass used, style, and product design and construction.
The benefits? ENERGY STAR labeled windows help reduce energy costs, increase a home’s comfort, and protect against UV damage. Plus, they’re better for the environment—because they reduce green house gas emissions—and for the country because they reduce the America’s dependency on foreign oil. More information on the program is available at www.energystar.gov
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