energy star If you live in the United States, you’ve probably seen the “Energy Star” image on different appliances, electronics, office equipment, and more, but never really thought about what it was or why it’s important. We thought today would be a perfect time to talk about the Energy Star, and in particular, how it relates to your electronics.

So what is the Energy Star program? Well, it’s a program that was started by the U.S. government, more specifically, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, to promote energy efficient consumer products. Products like washers, dishwashers, refrigerators, computers, fax machines, printers, light bulbs and fixtures are all part of the program. It was originally started back in 1992 as a way to help reduce the amount of energy consumed as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As of July 2007, new requirements were put in place just for computers.  According to Wikipedia, the requirements are more strict than before, and computers that were previously given the energy star approval had to re-qualify if they wanted to keep the star. The Energy Star is just as important at home as it is in businesses.

The results of this program are promising.  According to the official Energy Star website, “Americans, with the help of Energy Star, saved enough energy in 2006 alone to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 25 million cars — all while saving $14 billion on their utility bills.” The $14 billion saved in 2006 is a $2 billion increase in savings from 2005 which shows that each year as more products become more energy efficient, consumers save more money.

The Energy Star and your Computer

So how does the Energy Star come into play with your computer? The new qualifications that were put in place in July of 2007 specifically for computers will now save consumers and businesses over $1.8 billion in energy over the next five years. Remember, that’s $1.8 billion saved with computers alone. That’s the good news. The bad news though is that for a computer to qualify for the star, they must meet certain energy requirements while they’re turned on, when they’re in standby, and when they’re in sleep mode. There are far fewer computer models that qualify for the Energy Star with the recent change in requirements which means finding a computer with the Energy Star will be tough until more manufacturers are able to improve their product lines.

An example of a qualifying computer is the Acer  4710 Notebook with a 2000 MHz Intel Processor, 2048 MB Memory, and a 160 GB Hard Drive, or the Dell Latitude D531 with a 2.3 GHz AMD Processor and 4GB of Memory. If you’d like to see which computers qualify, the Energy Star website has a great tool that allows you to look up computers by brand which you can find here.

energy star guide

By choosing electronics with the Energy Star rating, not only will you save yourself some money on your electric bill, but you’ll also help the environment and prevent global warming. It’s a win-win situation all around!

This article was written in part for Blog Action Day.