Celebrate the Environment: Look for the ENERGY STAR® to Give Green
About the author: Maria Tikoff Vargas has worked at EPA for over 20 years and is currently the Brand Manager and Communications Director for EPA’s ENERGY STAR program.
Choosing holiday gifts can be challenging. I try to consider what each person wants, what they need, what’s on sale – the usual. But, since I work on EPA’s ENERGY STAR program, I realize that new purchases can have a big impact on household energy use and on the environment. Luckily, by looking for the ENERGY STAR, it’s easy to find gifts that save energy, save money on utility bills, and help fight global warming.
ENERGY STAR’s new, stricter qualification for televisions was recently released, so a flat-screen TV will certainly make my husband happy while using 30 percent less energy than standard units. He’s excited to watch HD programming, and both he and my son will be thrilled to play their new video games on a big screen. I’ll also pick out some movies that we can watch together on our new ENERGY STAR qualified Blu-ray DVD player.
My daughter is taking piano lessons, so she’s getting an MP3 player loaded with Mozart. I’m sure Miley Cyrus will find her way on there soon, though. I’ll look for a model that comes with an ENERGY STAR qualified power adapter, which is 30 percent more efficient than a conventional model. We’ll also set up a power strip where she can plug in the charger, making sure to switch off the strip when not in use.
For the kids’ teachers and the newspaper carrier, I’ve stocked up on ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs, which make small but useful presents. At home, I’m planning to switch to ENERGY STAR qualified decorative light strings. They consume 75 percent less energy than conventional incandescent light strands. We’ll also make sure that our regular green habits don’t fade away during the holidays, diligently using our programmable thermostat and sealing any drafty cracks to make sure the house stays cozy. These and other actions throughout the year are simple ways our family tries to help our environment and reduce our carbon footprint.
I definitely have some work ahead this season, but I feel good about giving fun, useful gifts that are also environmentally friendly. And just in case you know my husband, I’ve had my eye on this great little ENERGY STAR qualified laptop… Maybe you could drop a hint?
Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.