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Most people want to protect our environment, but many don't know where to start.  Choosing products that have earned the ENERGY STAR and engaging in energy saving practices are simple ways to save money and save energy, while helping to protect the environment.

Click to see more information about: CFL's and Mercury, Heating and Cooling, Programmable Thermostats, Seal and Insulate, Home Office Equipment, Home Electronics, E- Cycling, Appliances, Clothes Washers, Refrigerators, Dishwashers, Home Performance.

ENERGY STAR Qualified Lighting
  • If every home in the U.S. replaced just one light with an ENERGY STAR light, we would save enough energy to light about 3 million homes for a year, save about $700 million in annual energy costs, and prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year, equivalent to the emissions of about 800,000 cars.
  • A light bulb that has earned the ENERGY STAR can save $30 or more in electricity costs over its lifetime. An ENERGY STAR qualified light [bulb or fixture] prevents 450 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions over its lifetime, the equivalent of keeping more than 200 pounds of coal from being burned-compared to using an incandescent bulb.
  • ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) are available in different sizes and shapes, including mini-spiral, spiral, and A-line, which fit in almost any fixture.
  • ENERGY STAR qualified bulbs use about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer.
  • Wondering where to get the most energy savings? Replace light bulbs (or entire fixtures) where lights are typically left on the longest, such as your family and living room, kitchen, dining room, and porch. Place bulbs in open fixtures that allow air flow and, if replacing a bulb operating on a dimmer switch, look for bulbs specifically designed for this use.
  • ENERGY STAR qualified light fixtures come in hundreds of popular styles, including portable fixtures-such as table, desk, floor, and torchiere lamps-and hard-wired fixtures such as outdoor, cabinet, suspended, ceiling-mount, wall-mount, and more.

CFLs and Mercury

  • CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing-an average of 4 milligrams per light bulb. No mercury is released when the bulbs are intact or in use. By comparison, CFLs contain about 1/125th of the mercury that older thermometers contain. Visit energystar.gov/mercury for more information.
  • Coal-burning power plants are the single largest source of human-caused mercury emissions in the United States, contributing to more than 40 percent of all emissions. Because CFLs use 75 percent less energy than the incandescent bulbs they replace, they help to reduce net mercury emissions by requiring less coal to be burned at these plants.
  • EPA recommends that consumers take advantage of available local recycling options for compact fluorescent light bulbs. EPA is working with CFL manufacturers and major U.S. retailers to expand recycling and disposal options. Consumers can contact their local municipal solid waste agency directly, or go to www.epa.gov/bulbrecycling or http://www.earth911.org/ to identify local recycling options.

Heating and Cooling

  • If every American household serviced their heating and cooling systems, changed their air filters, sealed and insulated heating and cooling ducts in unfinished areas, and programmed their thermostat for energy savings while they're away or asleep, we would save $14 billion in annual energy costs while preventing more than 160 billion pounds of greenhouse gases, equivalent to the emissions from 14 million cars.
  • Nearly half of your annual home energy costs goes to heating and cooling, so making smart decisions about your home's HVAC system can have a big effect on your utility bills as well as your comfort.
  • Dirt and neglect are the top causes of heating and cooling system failure. One of the most important steps you can take to prevent future problems and unwanted costs is proper maintenance. To ensure heating and cooling systems are at peak performance, check your air filter each month and replace if dirty (or at least every three months), remove leaves, dirt, and other debris from around the outdoor components of your system, and have your heating and cooling equipment inspected by a professional prior to each heating and cooling season.
  • In homes with forced air heating or cooling systems, ducts move air to the rooms around the house and return it back to the central unit. These ducts are often big energy wasters. Sealing and insulating ducts can improve the efficiency of a heating and cooling system by as much as 20 percent-and sometimes much more.
  • Focus first on sealing ducts that run through the attic, crawlspace, unheated basement, or garage. Use duct sealant (mastic) or metal-backed (foil) tape to seal the seams and connections of ducts. After sealing the ducts in those spaces, wrap them in insulation to keep them from getting hot in the summer or cold in the winter. Next, look to seal any other ducts that you can access in the heated or cooled part of the house. See our Duct Sealing brochure for more information.
  • When the time comes to replace your heating and cooling system, look for high-efficiency units that have earned the ENERGY STAR. Depending on where you live, replacing your old heating and cooling equipment with ENERGY STAR qualified equipment can cut your annual energy bill by nearly $200.
  • To make sure that you get the best performance from your new equipment, it must be properly installed. In fact, improper installation can reduce system efficiency by up to 30 percent, costing you more on your utility bills and possibly shortening the equipment's life. Make sure to ask your contractor if their work meets guidelines established by ENERGY STAR and the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA).

Programmable Thermostats

  • With proper use, programmable thermostats can save you about $180 every year in energy costs. Visit energystar.gov/pts to learn how to set your thermostat, and save! It's simple.
  • Qualified programmable thermostats are shipped with a default energy-saving program. In addition to their standard features, qualified programmable thermostats may also offer "hold" or "vacation" features, indicators that tell you when it's time to change air filters, and indicators that signal malfunctioning of heating or cooling systems to help you stay on track for maintaining your equipment.

Seal and Insulate

  • Sealing and insulating the "envelope" or "shell" of your home-its outer walls, ceiling, windows, doors, and floors-is often the most cost effective way to improve energy efficiency and comfort. A knowledgeable homeowner or skilled contractor can save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs (or up to 10 percent on total annual energy bills) by sealing and insulating.
  • To Seal and Insulate with ENERGY STAR:
  • Seal air leaks throughout the home to stop drafts,
  • Add insulation to block heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer, and
  • Choose windows that have earned the ENERGY STAR when replacing.
  • The benefits of sealing and insulating include: lower utility bills, improved comfort (especially during summer and winter), reduced noise from outside, less pollen, dust, and insects entering your home, and better humidity control.
  • If your attic is accessible and you like home improvement projects, check out our "DIY Guide to Sealing and Insulating with ENERGY STAR," which offers step-by-step instructions for sealing common air leaks and adding insulation to the attic. For a more comprehensive approach, hire a contractor who can use special diagnostic tools to pinpoint and seal the hidden air leaks in your home. Ask local insulating companies or home energy professionals if they offer these services.

ENERGY STAR Qualified Home Office Equipment

  • If each computer and monitor in U.S. homes was to sleep when not in use, we would save more than $1 billion in annual energy costs while preventing 15 billion pounds of greenhouse gases equivalent to emissions of more than 1 million cars.
  • If every home office product purchased in the U.S. this year was ENERGY STAR qualified, we would save more than $75 million in annual energy costs while preventing 1 billion pounds of greenhouse gases equivalent to emissions of 90,000 cars.
  • When considering additions to your home office, purchase products that have earned the ENERGY STAR for all your equipment needs, which can save you money, energy, and help fight global warming. If you purchase ENERGY STAR products for your home office, equipped with a desktop computer, LCD monitor, and multifunction device (MFD), and enable power management settings on your computer, you can save up to $375 over the life of the products.
  • Copiers and fax machines are the most energy-intensive type of office equipment because they are left on for long periods of time-in some cases, 24 hours each day. ENERGY STAR qualified imaging equipment delivers the same performance as conventional equipment.

Home Electronics

  • If every TV, DVD player, and home theatre system purchased in the United States this year were ENERGY STAR qualified, we would prevent more than 3 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year. This is equivalent to the emissions of 270,000 cars.
  • As many as 2.4 billion external power adapters are in use in the United States-about eight for every person. These external power supplies contribute to about 12 percent of the national electric bill. To help save energy, save money, and fight global warming, purchase ENERGY STAR qualified home electronics and external power supplies, and use power strips as a centralized turn-off point when you are finished using equipment.
  • ENERGY STAR qualifies all types of home electronic products like televisions, DVDs and VCR products, home audio, digital-to-analog (DTA) converter boxes, and more. You can make a complete ENERGY STAR qualified home theater system and save even more!
  • The ENERGY STAR label is found on TVs of all shapes, sizes, and screen technologies. Televisions that have earned the ENERGY STAR are up to 30 percent more efficient than standard models. Since November 2008, a new and more stringent ENERGY STAR specification for TVs became effective, which required qualified televisions to save energy in both On mode and Standby mode. As of 2009, if all TVs sold in the United States met ENERGY STAR requirements, the savings in energy costs would grow to about $1 billion annually and greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by the equivalent of about 1 million cars.
  • A digital-to-analog (DTA) converter box is a device that converts digital television broadcast signals to analog signals. Since June 12, 2009, you will need a DTA if you own an analog TV, do not subscribe to cable or satellite services, and rely solely on over-the-air broadcasts for your TV viewing. Look for the ENERGY STAR label when purchasing your DTA to save energy, save money, and help protect the environment.

E-Cycling

  • Old electronics are a fast-growing portion of America's waste. They can present an environmental hazard if they are disposed of improperly. With an average of four pounds of lead in many older TV picture tubes, along with other potentially hazardous materials, electronics call for special handling at the end of their lives.
  • Donating or recycling your outdated electronics encourages the safe management of their potentially hazardous components and supports the recovery and reuse of valuable materials. It also helps reduce the pollution and energy use tied to the production of new electronics. Finally, it can put a computer, TV, or cell phone in the hands of someone who needs it. Visit www.energystar.gov/recycle for more information.

ENERGY STAR Qualified Appliances

  • If every refrigerator, dishwasher, and clothes washer purchased in the U.S. this year were ENERGY STAR qualified, we would prevent 4.5 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year, equivalent to the emissions of 385,000 cars.
  • Appliances that have earned the ENERGY STAR have two price tags: what you pay to take it home and what you pay for the energy and water it uses. ENERGY STAR qualified appliances incorporate advanced technologies that use 10 to 50 percent less energy and water than standard models. The money you save on annual utility bills can more than make up for the cost of a more expensive but more efficient ENERGY STAR model.

Clothes Washers

  • Clothes washers that meet ENERGY STAR criteria reduce energy by about 30 percent and water consumption by over 50 percent compared to regular washers. Many qualified clothes washers have a greater capacity than conventional models, which means fewer loads of laundry. By dramatically reducing energy use and water consumption, these units can reduce annual utility bills by about $50.

Refrigerators

  • In most households, the refrigerator is the single biggest energy-consuming kitchen appliance. To save energy, save money, and fight global warming, choose refrigerators that have earned the ENERGY STAR, which are 20 percent more energy efficient than the minimum federal standard. ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerators use less energy than a 60-watt light bulb that is run continuously. If everyone purchasing a refrigerator in 2009 chooses an ENERGY STAR qualified model, together we would reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from about 150,000 cars.

Dishwashers

  • Dishwashers that have earned the ENERGY STAR are on average 10 percent more energy efficient than non-qualified models. To help your dishwasher run more efficiently:
  • Run your dishwasher with a full load. Most of the energy used by a dishwasher goes to heat water. Since you cannot decrease the amount of water used per cycle, fill your dishwasher to get the most from the energy used to run it.
  •  Avoid using the heat-dry, rinse-hold, and pre-rinse features. Instead use your dishwasher's air-dry option.

Home Performance with ENERGY STAR

  • Home Performance with ENERGY STAR is a comprehensive, whole house approach to improve energy efficiency and comfort at home, while helping to protect the environment and fight global warming. Rather than focusing on a single problem, like an old heating or cooling system, not enough insulation in the attic, or leaky windows, Home Performance with ENERGY STAR looks at how improvements throughout your home can work together to give you the best results. Through this program, specially-trained contractors will evaluate your home using state-of the-art equipment and provide whole-house recommendations to improve your home's energy efficiency and comfort. They can also help you get the work done right! To find out if Home Performance with ENERGY STAR is available in your area, visit www.energystar.gov/homeperformance.