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Does ENERGY STAR Qualified Matter?

Learn how ENERGY Star-qualified appliances are a wise choice for your home and your wallet.

April 13, 2023

We’ve all seen the ENERGY STAR stickers when shopping for new appliances. It seems to be a selling point, but few homeowners understand what it means, how it can save them money in the long run, and why ENERGY STAR-qualified appliances are an important investment. Take a closer look at what an ENERGY STAR rating means and why it may be the best choice for your new home appliances. 


ENERGY STAR was started in 1992 as part of the federal Clean Air Act. Run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with the goal of identifying and promoting energy-efficient products and buildings to consumers, the program seeks to reduce energy consumption and pollution. Since its inception, ENERGY STAR has helped families and businesses around the nation save more than $500 billion in energy costs, save five trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity, and reduce greenhouse gasses by more than four billion metric tons. 

To earn the ENERGY STAR, a product has to meet strict energy efficiency criteria set by the EPA or the U.S. Department of Energy. There’s no single metric for energy efficiency. Metrics depend on the kind of product being tested. While the term ‘energy-efficient’ can sound vague, the EPA has defined it simply as “using less energy to get the same job done” compared to traditional counterparts. 

To further define “energy efficient”, the EPA has set forth the following criteria for any items eligible for an ENERGY STAR rating: 

  • Product categories must contribute significant energy savings nationwide.
  • Certified products must deliver the features and performance demanded by consumers, in addition to increased energy efficiency.
  • If the certified product costs more than a conventional, less-efficient counterpart, purchasers will recover their investment in increased energy efficiency through utility bill savings within a reasonable period of time.
  • Energy efficiency can be achieved through broadly available, non-proprietary technologies offered by more than one manufacturer.
  • Product energy consumption and performance can be measured and verified with testing.
  • Labeling would effectively differentiate products and be visible to purchasers.

ENERGY STAR Ratings in the Home

New, energy-efficient appliances can help you save money on energy bills over the next ten to twenty years. Saving even a little on your monthly energy bill can result in substantial savings considering how long appliances last. Refrigerators last an average of twelve years, washing machines about eleven years, and heating and cooling systems around fifteen to twenty years.

ENERGY STAR and other energy-efficient appliances save money over time. However, the upfront cost of these appliances is higher than other choices, and many homeowners choose a less expensive appliance only to find it ends up costing them more in the long run. In an effort to help smart homeowners afford energy-efficient appliances, the federal government has announced the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which gives homeowners tax credits and rebates for purchasing a more energy-efficient option.  

When shopping for new appliances, look for the blue ENERGY STAR logo qualified on a product. It means that the product meets specific standards for energy efficiency that often exceed the federal minimum standards. You should also check out the yellow EnergyGuide label on appliances. This sticker gives you detailed information about the annual energy consumption and operating cost, so you can make the smartest decision for your home. 

When comparing the energy usage for each appliance in your home, you can see exactly where choosing ENERGY STAR-qualified products can have the biggest impact. Here’s a quick look at the top ten appliances in homes and how much energy they use, as reported by Connect4Climate:

Heating & Cooling
Water Heater
Washer & Dryer
TV, Cable, DVD

If you’re building your energy-efficient dream home, use ENERGY STAR as a guide to making decisions that can help you save money on energy costs. Plus, you’ll save even more because you’re getting a whole house full of new, energy-efficient appliances! For a completely energy-efficient home, read ENERGY STAR’s comprehensive advice for building an Energy Star home that expands beyond installing energy-efficient appliances.

Benefits of ENERGY STAR Appliances for Homeowners

Cost Savings

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, ENERGY STAR appliances can reduce your home appliance energy usage and costs by as much as ten percent to 50 percent. While specific savings vary in each home, the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) estimates that energy efficiency standards have already saved American homeowners an estimated $200 billion to date, or about $2,000 per household. Many homeowners have renewed interest in ENERGY STAR products because of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which expanded upon the existing Energy Policy Act of 2005. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 expands federal tax credits and deductions for homeowners and corporations in an effort to reduce energy costs. 

Environmentally friendly

According to sources as varied as the Washington Post, the NRDC, and the U.S. Government, energy-efficient appliances (namely ENERGY STAR qualified) have the ability to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, and our nation’s reliance on dwindling fossil fuel resources and foreign oil.

Increased convenience 

ENERGY STAR appliances are also more convenient. According to information provided by the NRDC and the Washington Post, purchasing an ENERGY washer and dryer means that you can wash more clothes in a single load and dry them faster. In other words, you’ll do fewer loads of laundry in less time if you shop the ENERGY STAR label. 

ENERGY STAR HVAC options from Trane

Trane is dedicated to making smarter choices for our environment every day and you can learn more about this in our Green Guide. Energy-efficient HVAC products can help you save energy in your home so you can reduce your HVAC footprint and adopt more eco-friendly practices that benefit both your wallet and the planet.

Heating and cooling can account for nearly half of the energy used in your home, according to ENERGY STAR, so it’s important to invest in an energy-efficient system. Trane offers several different ENERGY STAR-certified models like the XL17i Air Conditioner, the XC95m Gas Furnace, and the XV20i Variable Speed Heat Pump. To maximize energy efficiency and cost savings, your HVAC system needs to be the correct size for your home and installed correctly. 

Your local Trane dealer is a great resource for learning about ENERGY STAR-qualified HVAC systems and what would work best for your home and budget. Learn more about energy-efficient heating and cooling systems and contact Trane to take the first step to make your home greener and cleaner! 

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