Energy Star Program

Sports and a Sustainable Future

By Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe

With football season starting back up and baseball playoffs around the corner, this is one of my favorite times of the year – and I know many Americans share my excitement.

I am a sports enthusiast. But I am also an environmentalist. Today more than ever, these two passions of mine seem to go hand-in-hand. For the past few years, a number of sports teams, venues and leagues have come forward and expressed interest in greener, cost-saving ways of doing business. These improvements will ensure that, as each pitch is thrown, each goal is scored and each car completes another lap on the racetrack, we’re doing more to conserve resources, clean up our environment and protect the health of our communities.

Green Sports Alliance Board of Directors Chairman and Seattle Mariners Vice President of Ballpark Operations Scott Jenkins and U.S. EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe sign the memorandum of understanding.

Green Sports Alliance Board of Directors Chairman and Seattle Mariners Vice President of Ballpark Operations Scott Jenkins and U.S. EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe sign the memorandum of understanding.

Yesterday I joined representatives from the Green Sports Alliance, an organization that represents over 100 teams and venues from 13 different leagues, to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the Alliance’s second annual Summit in Seattle, WA.

The agreement we signed seeks to build upon our current outreach and sustainability efforts, and it strengthens the partnerships we have with the Alliance so our work can be as far-reaching as possible. It will help ensure that America’s sports teams and venues have the tracking and reporting tools and technical expertise they need to address environmental challenges like waste management, water conservation and pollution. It will also help with the effort to make sports venues’ energy use more efficient – specifically through EPA’s Energy Star program. This year our annual Energy Star National Building Competition has attracted five new sports venues. That’s good news for teams, for the environment and for local communities: Last year’s competition resulted in $5.2 million of utility bill savings and prevented nearly 30,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering our atmosphere – about the same amount of emissions that come from more than 3,600 homes each year.

Teams, stadiums, and venues across the country are already taking significant steps to increase sustainability and protect our environment. The Philadelphia Eagles are preparing for on-site wind and solar generation at Lincoln Financial Field. The National Hockey League became the first league to join EPA’s Green Power Partnership, offsetting 100 percent of its post-season electricity consumption through its green power commitments. These are just two of dozens of examples of how the sports industry has been discovering cost-effective ways to reduce their environmental footprint and engage fans in bringing about a cleaner, healthier future for our communities.

The best news about all of this work is that it has the potential to reach far beyond the stadiums, the fields and the courts. From little league baseball to the majors, from Pop Warner football to the NFL, Americans share a great love for sports. Our favorite teams are not only important to us; they also have the ability to be influential in raising awareness among their fans and setting positive examples when it comes to sustainability.

For all of these reasons, I’m very proud of EPA’s work with the Green Sports Alliance, and I look forward to seeing where our partnership will take us in seasons to come.

About the author: Bob Perciasepe is the Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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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Celebrating Energy Star: 20 Years of Partnership, Promise, and Progress

By Administrator Lisa P. Jackson

This entry previously posted on Huffington Post

Twenty years ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had a bold vision. With the increasing use of electronics in American households and business — including the introduction of personal computers that would soon be in every home and office across the country — the agency saw a need to conserve energy and reduce air pollution to create a healthier climate for all Americans. They saw an opportunity to harness market forces that would encourage both consumers and companies to invest in cleaner, more innovative, more energy-efficient products in sectors across the economy. The result was the Energy Star program.

In the two decades that have passed since it began, Energy Star has become a household name. Its familiar blue label appears on televisions, dishwashers, computers and more — upwards of five billion products sold in the last two decades. We’ve also certified more than 1.3 million Energy Star houses and tens of thousands of buildings across the country. American families and businesses have saved a combined total of nearly $230 billion dollars on their utility bills with help from Energy Star, and prevented more than 1.7 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

The program’s partnership with leading companies from every sector of the economy is proof positive that we can strengthen our economy at the same time we protect our environment. Consumers know that Energy Star means savings on the power bill, and they drive the change — voting with their dollars to support companies that make products that meet and exceed Energy Star standards. After 20 years, our vast network of partners gives Americans a wide-array of innovative choices for saving energy and cutting costs every day.

Energy Star is one of our great success stories, and it will play a vital role in our future. The challenges we face in growing our economy, the threats to our health from air pollution, and the need for action to protect our planet from climate change all demand serious energy and environmental solutions. In a comprehensive energy strategy, improving efficiency is at the top of the list.

Twenty years in, we still have a bold vision, one in which the Energy Star program helps millions of people — in the U.S. and around the world — save money, protect their health and the environment, and strengthen an economy that’s built to last.

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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Going Green with the Girl Scouts

By Brittney Gordon

I am lucky enough to have great memories from childhood, and some of the most memorable moments come from my days as a Girl Scout. Every week my mom would dress me up in my brownie uniform and take me to our troop meeting to have fun with some of my best friends. From selling cookies to telling stories around the camp fire, Girl Scouts allowed me to have the kind of wholesome American fun that all young girls should get to experience.

With these memories still fresh in my mind I became a Girl Scout leader a few years ago, and had the chance to experience the fun of scouting from the other side. Needless to say, I am a strong believer in the Girl Scouts and I am always excited to read about the latest ways that they are reaching young women. Imagine my surprise when I found out that EPA’s ENERGY STAR program is partnering with the Girl Scouts this year, and helping to make protecting the climate as common to scouting as selling those delicious cookies.

GS-Forever-GreenIn celebration of their 100th anniversary, the Girl Scouts are kicking off Girl Scouts Forever Green in 2012. This global action effort is focused on waste reduction, energy conservation and rain gardens. This March the Girl Scouts will begin engaging their friends and families in making small changes to lower their carbon footprint. The girls will be replacing incandescent light bulbs with ENERGY STAR qualified light bulbs throughout their communities. On March 31st they will participate in the worldwide Earth Hour movement by turning off their lights for one hour.

EPA’s ENERGY STAR program is excited to work as the environmental education partner for the Girl Scouts during this anniversary year. Girl Scouts from across the country will be able to take a customized version of the ENERGY STAR Pledge on their own website, learning how to save energy and protect the environment with EPA’s help. For EPA this is a great way to spread the word about energy efficiency with the future leaders of America.

If you have a Girl Scout at home, make sure that she takes the ENERGY STAR Pledge on the Girl Scout’s website. If you have yet to take the ENERGY STAR Pledge, take it here.

About the author: Brittney Gordon is a member of the communication’s team at 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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Calling All Efficiency Enthusiasts!

By  Brittney Gordon

If you are reading this post, you probably already consider yourself an environmentally conscious person. I am willing to bet that you have been recycling for years and make it a point to turn off the lights when you leave a room. And, chances are the ENERGY STAR label probably appears on the electronics and appliances around your house. But, have you heard about the Most Efficient of ENERGY STAR? It is a new recognition effort from EPA’s ENERGY STAR program that will help early adopters of energy efficient technology stay ahead of the curve and lead the way in environmental protection.

The Most Efficient recognition is awarded to products across eight categories:

  • Air-source heat pumps
  • Boilers
  • Central air conditioners
  • Clothes washers
  • Furnaces
  • Geothermal heat pumps
  • Refrigerator-freezers
  • Televisions

The products designated as ENERGY STAR’s Most Efficient are third-party certified and represent the best of the best in terms of energy efficiency, meaning they feature exceptional efficiency performance above the current ENERGY STAR standard. So, what does that mean for you? It means that a person buying an ENERGY STAR Most Efficient refrigerator-freezer will save 30 percent on their energy costs, compared to a standard model.

The best way to find these ground-breaking products is to check the Most Efficient lists on ENERGY STAR’s website. These lists are updated as new, super-efficient products are introduced to the market. The savings numbers vary for each category, but the bottom line is that if you seek out products that have earned ENERGY STAR’s Most Efficient recognition when you go shopping this year, you be leading the pack of energy efficiency fans!

About the author: Brittney Gordon is a member of EPA’s ENERGY STAR communication’s team. Before joining EPA in 2010, she worked as a broadcast journalist.

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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Program Your Way To Savings

By Brittney Gordon

Do you use a programmable thermostat? For many years I would have had to answer no to that question. I always tried to turn down the heat/air conditioning as I left for work in the morning and before I went to bed, but that strategy was 50/50 to say the least. If only I had known that for a very small investment I could have regulated the temperature in my home and saved about $180 a year.

A programmable thermostat comes with settings that allow you set the temperature of your house based on your family’s schedule. Use this chart to get started.

Here are some rules of thumb for properly using these thermostats:

  1. Keep the temperature set at its energy-saving set-points for long periods of time (at least eight hours).
  2. All thermostats let you temporarily make an area warmer or cooler, without erasing the pre-set programming. This override is cancelled automatically at the next program period. Beware: You use more energy and will pay more on energy bills if you consistently override the pre-programmed settings.
  3. Units typically have two types of hold features: (a) hold/permanent/vacation; (b) temporary. Avoid using the hold/permanent/vacation feature to manage daily temperature settings. “Hold” or “vacation” features are best when you’re planning to be away for an extended period. Set this feature at a constant, efficient temperature (i.e., several degrees warmer temperature in summer, several degrees cooler during winter), when going away for the weekend or on vacation. You’ll waste energy and money if you leave the “hold” feature at the comfort setting while you’re away.
  4. Cranking your unit up to 90 degrees or down to 40 degrees will not heat or cool your house any faster. Most thermostats begin to heat or cool at a set time, reaching set-point temperatures sometime thereafter. Units with adaptive (smart) recovery features are an exception to this rule.
  5. Many homes use just one thermostat to control the whole house. If your home has multiple heating or cooling zones, you’ll need a programmed setback thermostat for each zone to maximize comfort, convenience, and energy savings throughout the house.
  6. If your programmable thermostat runs on batteries, don’t forget to change the batteries each year. Some units will indicate when batteries must be changed.

If you need help installing your programmable thermostat, EPA’s ENERGY STAR program has everything you need to get started here.

About the author: Brittney Gordon is a member of EPA’s ENERGY STAR program communications team. The Baltimore native has worked for EPA since 2010.

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.