Energy Star Label

A Greener 2016

By Lina Younes

Happy New Year! As we begin the new year, we’re looking for a fresh start to a healthier and happier life. How about finding ways to embrace a greener lifestyle for 2016?

Personally, I’ve selected some green resolutions that will help me make better environmentally sound choices for my family, my community and the planet. I think they’re easy to follow now and throughout the year. I’m sharing them with you. What do you think?water

Resolution #1: Save energy.

Saving energy at home, at school, or in the office can start with one simple light bulb. I know I often sound like a broken record trying to convince my youngest to turn off the lights in her room when she leaves. This year I want both of us to make that special effort. This simple action can go a long way to save energy.
Also, at home, we’ve made sure that all our major appliances have the Energy Star label.  Are you planning to to replace an old computer or household appliance this year? You can save energy and money, too, if you choose a new appliance with the label.

Resolution #2: Save water.

We definitely cannot live without water. So, why not do our best to use this precious resource as efficiently as possible? Saving water saves energy and money. This year, I’m making a special effort to take shorter showers and turn off the faucet while I brush my teeth. These simple steps can go a long way.

Do you have a leaky faucet or toilet? Did you know that household leaks waste more than 1 trillion gallons of water every year in the U.S. alone? I’ve had problems with leaky toilets at home and learned from the experience! Don’t let a leak break the bank.  Look for the WaterSense label when buying new water efficient toilets and other plumbing fixtures to save valuable water and money every day.

Resolution #3: Use safer chemicals.

We’ve all heard the expression: “cleanliness is next to godliness.” So, why not look for safer cleaning products to protect ourselves, our family and the environment? Did you know that we have a program that helps us do just that? It’s called SaferChoice. Products with the SaferChoice label have met high EPA standards to ensure that they’re greener to better protect people, pets, workers’ health and the environment. Personally, I seek greener chemicals to help protect my family. I’m glad there will be more products available with the SaferChoice label this year.

Resolution #4: Reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Make an effort to reduce waste from the outset. Why not use reusable containers at home, at school, and at the office? Reducing disposable packaging and waste saves you money and ultimately protects the environment. Looking for additional tips on how to reduce waste? Here are more suggestions on what you can do every day.

For starters, I’m focusing on waste free lunches. When I prepare lunches for my youngest to take to school or for me to bring to work, I’m avoiding disposable plastic bags. I’m using reusable containers for the food and beverages. Not only am I preventing those bags from ending up in a landfill, but I’m saving money, too.

By the way, don’t forget the other two R’s—reuse and recycle. For additional tips, visit: http://www.epa.gov/recycle.

Resolution #5: Be more active.

While we often include losing weight as a New Year’s resolution, how about aspiring to become more active as the means to a healthier lifestyle? You don’t have to sign up for an expensive gym membership to achieve that goal. It’s much easier and less costly than you think. How about simply walking more often? Take your dog on longer walks. How about visiting your local park?

Personally, I’m taking the stairs more often at work. I also have a new standing desk. So, I’m not as sedentary as in the past. Being more active at work, becoming healthier, and protecting the environment sound like a win-win to me!

So, what green resolutions will you embrace in 2016? We’d love to hear from you.

About the author:  Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves the Multilingual Communications Liaison in EPA’s Office of Web Communications. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several federal and state government agencies over the years.

 

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here 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.

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Energy Star Day: The Power of the Little Blue Label


Let’s start with a few numbers:

300 billion dollars in savings. That’s how much consumers and businesses have saved on utility bills in the last 22 years because of the Energy Star program.

Two billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions avoided, or the equivalent to the annual emissions of more than 420 million cars, over the last 22 years. Thanks to our little blue Energy Star label, folks are doing their part to reduce their greenhouse emissions and combat climate change.

Since President Obama took office, Energy Star has helped American consumers and businesses save over one billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and approximately $110 billion on their utility bills.

That’s one powerful little label.

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Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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College Students – It’s Time for Back to School Shopping!

By Vanja Basaric

College Students- It’s Time for Back to School Shopping! Find Ways to Save Money AND help Protect the Environment!

With summer nearing its end, college students like me start thinking about supplies we need when going back to school. When I think of back to school shopping as a kid, I think about how excited I used to get when teachers sent out school supply checklists. I would eagerly run up to my mom telling her we had to go to the store THAT DAY, or all of the good supplies would be taken. I remember running through the store picking out the newest Backstreet Boys folders and gel pens so I could impress friends with my brand new supplies. But as much as I enjoyed back to school shopping, the older I got, the more I realized how pricey it can be.

For college students, back to school purchasing is more about housing, textbooks, and computers. As a graduate student, my back to school shopping this year means upgrading my computer, purchasing a mini-fridge to keep my snacks fresh, and ordering endless amounts of textbooks. Clearly, these needs require quite a hefty budget, but there are many ways that I have found throughout the years to keep costs down.

I’m also passionate about finding ways to help protect the environment when making my back to school purchases. For instance, I always make sure to buy appliances and products with the ENERGY STAR label .  Having my own apartment means paying for utilities, and this makes me even more energy and cost cautious. What impresses me about ENERGY STAR products is that they offer savings on energy bills without sacrificing performance or features. ENERGY STAR provides a list of products for your dorm room or apartment.

Other ways I save money on back to school shopping include buying electronic versions of my textbooks. Rather than spending a fortune on hard copies of the text, I just download the electronic version and easily access it on school computers. I’m amazed at how much money I’ve saved over the years by not buying name brand pens and notebooks and shopping at discount stores. Yes, this means giving up my beloved gel pens, but it also means saving money.

So whether you are going back to your dorm or finally moving off campus into your new place, remember these back to school shopping tips and save money while being mindful of our beautiful environment!

About the author: Vanja Basaric is a graduate student at James Madison University working towards a Master of Public Administration. She is currently a summer intern in the Office of Public Engagement.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here 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.

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Becoming Part of the Solution

By Brittney Gordon

Earth Day 2012 has come and gone and many of us marked the day by making private commitments to become better stewards of the environment. These lofty goals are a lot like New Year’s resolutions–and sadly they are usually completed with the same dismal success rate. This Earth Day I have a challenge for you. Put your energy savings were your mouth is and make a public commitment with ENERGY STAR.

EPA’s ENERGY STAR program just kicked off its 2012 campaign and we are making it easier than ever for you to make changes both big and small to protect the climate. If you are looking for a way to become part of the solution, we have everything you need to stay in check all year long.

Step One: Take the ENERGY STAR Pledge! The pledge is a great way to commit to making simple energy changes in your home and community. Over 2.8 million other Americans have already signed on, so you will be in great company. The pledge even links to special offers by ENERGY STAR partners that will help you accomplish your goals.

Step Two: Check out the Map! The ENERGY STARs Across America map is brand new for 2012 and includes energy efficiency education events all over the country. Find one in your area and get the support you need to fulfill your goals.

Step Three: Share Your Story! We know that many of you are already saving energy and striving to fight climate change. Well grab the video camera (or a still camera) and show the world how you are doing your part! We will put your story on the map for everyone to see.

Step Four: Join Team ENERGY STAR! Sign your kids up and let them see how easy it is to save energy at home. EPA is providing fun tips and tools to help spread the energy saving message to team members and their families. Kids can share their stories too, and they may earn cool rewards!

Ready to get started? Just go to ENERGY STAR’s website and get ready to make a difference! While you are at it, check out our brand new video that shows you exactly how to get started.

About the author: Brittney Gordon is a member of the ENERGY STAR communications team. She has worked for EPA since Fall 2010 and manages ENERGY STAR’s social media channels. Join us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here 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.

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How to Keep Your Home Electricity Use Down (While Still Enjoying Your Favorite Gadgets!)

By Denise Durrett

Quick! Do a mental scan of your house or apartment and guess the number of products you have that are continuously drawing power. Well, the typical home has 40! Quite a few of these products are consumer electronics—and they may be eating up a larger chunk of your energy bills than you think.

Energy used for consumer electronics and small appliances has increased by 20 percent since 2005— and TVs and PCs account for a lot of that increase. In fact, the largest high-resolution TVs can use as much electricity as a new conventional refrigerator. Just over 20 years ago, the average American home had two TV sets. Today, more than half of homes have three or more TVs. Add the fact that many of those old TVs are replaced by big, flat-panel versions that use double the energy, and you can start to see the energy use pile up. This increased energy use means an increase in greenhouse gas emissions in our environment, which contributes to the effects of climate change.

Looking to trim your energy bills? Try these tips:

  1. Choose ENERGY STAR. You can find the ENERGY STAR label on products in over 60 different categories for your home, including electronics and office equipment. Visit energy star for TVs recognized as ENERGY STAR’s Most Efficient. These are the most efficient products among those that qualify for the ENERGY STAR and represent the leading edge in energy efficient products.
  2. Use a powerstrip. Plug electronics and computer equipment into a power strip with an on/off switch and turn it off when you are not using the products.
  3. Sleep is good! Activate power management features on computers and monitors to place them in a low-power sleep mode after a set time of inactivity to reduce power consumption.
  4. Turn it off. Turn off computers and monitors if you will be away for more than two hours. It doesn’t harm your computer and will save energy.
  5. Laptops are more efficient. If a laptop will meet your needs, choose one over a desktop. Laptops are 2.5 to 3 times more efficient than desktop computers.
  6. Visit energy star for the latest energy-saving news, products, and ideas for your home.

About the author: Denise Durrett is a communications team member with EPA’s ENERGY STAR program.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here 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.

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Turn Off The Lights!

By Ameshia Cross

I can still hear my mother screaming at the top of her lungs, “Turn out the lights and unplug that radio!” I couldn’t make it through the day without switching on every light in the house. I had to have my radio playing at all times and went to bed with the TV on. When my mom bought me a computer, I was so excited and showed my elation by never turning it off. My mom was always harping about saving energy. She would reuse grocery bags before it was fashionable to do. As a kid, I thought my mom was crazy for being this way!

Everything changed when I met a man I now call an “Energy Star.” During my sophomore year of high school, a man came to speak at our annual Earth Day assembly. I thought he was a little weird (don’t all adults seem weird to teenagers!) but the passion he had drew me to his message. “Turn out the lights and unplug that radio!” Those words were of course familiar to me but now they were coming from someone who wasn’t my mom, so they carried a greater weight. “Energy Star” went on to talk about the effects that behavior like mine can have on the environment. He even spoke of people who do not have reliable sources of energy at all and how conservation is key in moving forward. It made me appreciate energy so much more and how I take it for granted.

I took a hold of that message and have been changed ever since. Since interning at EPA, I learned about the Energy Star Kids program. This program highlights what young people can do to protect their environment and how a little energy conservation goes a long way. If I’d known about this program as a kid I would have saved both my mom and the environment a lot of trouble.

I also learned that saving energy can be fun and easy. Some examples of how to do it can be found.  Granted I still slip up at times! This morning I probably left a light on before leaving the house, but I have set a goal for myself that includes leading a life of energy conservation and awareness and I am glad I did.

About the author:  Ameshia Cross joined the EPA in December as a STEP intern in the Air and Radiation Division in Chicago. She has worked for numerous community organizations, holds seats on youth education boards, and is active in politics. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Public Administration with an emphasis on environmental policy and legislation.

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.


Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here 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.

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My Black Friday Experience

By Denise Owens

While preparing to go shopping for Black Friday, I decided to do things differently. I brought my own bags from home to use for my purchases instead of receiving plastic bags. My girlfriends and I carpooled to the shopping mall instead of everyone driving separately.

Once we arrived at the mall I was amazed how the employers were passing out reusable bags to be used instead of using the plastic bags. As they passed out the bags, they informed the shoppers that by using these reusable bags, this will help the environment.

While shopping this past weekend I made sure I shopped green. I purchased lights to decorate my home inside and out. I was on an alert for the Energy Star Label for more reasons than one. Not only were the lights prettier it was safer for the environment. I explained to my girlfriends why I had to have Energy Star products. My girlfriend said it does not matter. Well as she shopped for a TV she asked a few questions and the first thing the salesman said was, “This is an Energy Star television” I laughed and said to her, “I told you so”.

During my shopping experience I was really pleased to find that people are really going green for the holidays.

About the author: Denise Owens has worked with the Environmental Protection Agency for over 25 years.

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.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here 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.

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Go Green on Black Friday

By Lina Younes

Increasingly Black Friday has become the unofficial kickoff of the holiday buying season. As many of you seek good deals at the nation’s stores, have you thought of ensuring that your purchases are environmentally friendly? Here are some green tips that apply to Black Friday or any day of the year.

TOYS

As a parent, we want to ensure that our children’s toys are safe and free of toxic chemicals. We still see occasional reports that popular toys and even children’s toy jewelry may have some toxic content. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has made major strides to ensure the safety of the products we’ll find in stores this holiday season.

ELECTRONICS

Computers, video games, household appliances are popular during the holidays. If you are looking for a green purchase in this area, consider those products with the Energy Star label to save money and protect the environment at the same time. For example, if every home in the US purchased a home office product like a computer with the Energy Star label this year, the nation as a whole would save more than $75 million in annual energy costs and prevent 1 billion pounds of greenhouse gases, equivalent to emissions from 90,000 cars.

RECHARGEABLE BATTERIES

Many toys, electronics, and hand held products require batteries. Rechargeable batteries are a must on any green gift list. The advantage is twofold. Not only will you save on batteries in the long run, but you’ll also minimize waste .

We have additional tips on green shopping.  We would love to hear about your green practices during the holidays.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

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.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here 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.

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Benchmarking? What’s Benchmarking?

ESLogo.2By George Giese

You know, I never gave much thought to it when I was younger. Classrooms to be heated and cooled (if you’re lucky and have A/C); hallways and gymnasiums to light and kitchens and cafeterias to power and maintain. When you think about it, schools use a lot of energy!

There are thousands of schools across the country and each one needs to be powered. Given the environmental and economic challenges facing schools today, sound energy management is a critical component of operations. But where do you start?

As an intern, I’ve had the opportunity to assist schools in benchmarking their buildings in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. Benchmarking is a process that allows you to compare the energy usage of your school with other similar buildings across the country. Portfolio Manager accounts for variables such as school size (square footage), local weather, the presence of on-site cooking facilities, and other physical characteristics that influence energy use.

It’s a fairly simple process – you plug in 12 consecutive months of energy data along with some information about the school itself, and the system computes a 1-100 efficiency score. As improvements are made Portfolio Manager tracks your progress over time. Even better, schools that rate 75 or higher are eligible for the ENERGY STAR Label which can be proudly displayed.

Working with schools across six states, I’ve seen some pretty cool stuff. One high school has hallway lights that are programmed to match class schedules. One minute before the bell rings, the lights kick on as students start moving to their next class. One minute before the next period begins, the lights slowly dim to conserve energy. I could have used that friendly reminder…it would have saved me quite a few mad-dashes down the hall.

Think this sounds cool?  Encourage a parent or teacher to learn about: energy star programs for schools

In the meantime there are actions you can take to help your school be more energy efficient.  This winter, ask your teacher to open the window blinds in your classroom.  The heat from the sun’s rays can keep your classroom warm.  Also, turn off lights in classrooms that are not being used.  These simple actions will help your school to be more energy efficient!

About the author: George Giese is an intern for the Air and Radiation Division working on Climate Change. He is currently finishing his Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Colorado at Denver.

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.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here 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.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.