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The Importance of an ENERGY STAR Rating

January 15, 2014

ENERGY STARYou’ve probably heard the term ENERGY STAR before. Maybe you even have some appliances with the ENERGY STAR label. But what is ENERGY STAR? And is buying an ENERGY STAR heating and cooling system worth it?

What is ENERGY STAR?

ENERGY STAR is an international standard for energy efficiency that is intended to help consumers make better choices when buying everything from laptops to light bulbs. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) established the ENERGY STAR program in 1992 as part of the Clean Air Act, with the intent of reducing pollution.

Companies can voluntarily participate in the ENERGY STAR program by submitting their products for testing. There are tens of thousands of products with the ENERGY STAR label. Even homes can receive the ENERGY STAR certification.

Although the standards for consumer products vary, the New York Times estimated that certified products are usually about 20 to 30 percent more efficient than the minimum federal requirements. That can translate to significant savings for products that use a lot of energy—products like HVAC systems.

ENERGY STAR Heating and Cooling Systems

There are many ENERGY STAR certified heating and cooling systems available, including boilers, furnaces, geothermal heat pumps, and room air conditioners. The ENERGY STAR website maintains an up-to-date list of qualifying products:

  • Boilers
  • Furnaces
  • Geothermal heat pumps
  • Room air conditioners

You can also ask an expert at Jim Lavallee Plumbing & Heating about which ENERGY STAR products are available for your home.

Is ENERGY STAR Worth It?

It can be difficult to calculate your exact savings because of the variety of factors that contribute to your home’s energy bill.

But one study on the ENERGY STAR site calculated the following savings (over federal minimum standards) for various types of water heaters:

  • High efficiency storage tank: 10-20 percent more efficient with savings of up to $500 over the life of the heater
  • Demand (tankless): 45-60 percent more efficient with savings of up to $1,800 over the life of the heater
  • Heat pump: 65 percent more efficient with savings of up to $900 over the life of the heater
  • Solar with electric backup: 70-80 percent more efficient with savings of up to $2,200 over the life of the heater

As you can imagine, more expensive solutions, like solar, can often save you more in the long run. But deciding which type of HVAC system is right for your home requires an evaluation of the climate, insulation quality, and energy use of your living space.

Learn More About ENERGY STAR

If you’re considering investing in an ENERGY STAR certified heating and cooling system for your home, it’s important to get a professional consultation to help you understand your options and how much money you might save.

With major investments like these, it’s important to evaluate the long-term savings of the product against the up-front cost. But if you live in the Eastern Massachusetts and the Boston area, an expert at Jim Lavallee Plumbing & Heating can assess your home’s current state and help you make an informed decision about your purchase. Call us today!

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