20 Years of ENERGY STAR

By: Brittney Gordon

Let’s take a little trip back in time to the year 1992. Where were you at that time? I was in the 7th grade at Pikesville Middle School in Baltimore County, trying my best to overcome the awkwardness that comes with the pre-teen years. But outside of my little world, a lot was happening in this country. For example:

1.)    A gallon of gas cost $1.05

2.)    Bill Clinton became the 42nd President of the United States

3.)    The Washington Redskins won the Super Bowl

4.) Jack Nicolson taught us all that Tom Cruise could not “handle the truth” in A Few Good Men

5.)    Cheers, Roseanne and Murphy Brown were on TV

Yep, a lot happened in 1992, including the labeling of the first ENERGY STAR qualified product—a computer. Fast forward 20 years and EPA’s ENERGY STAR label can now be found on products in more than 65 different categories, with more than five billion qualified products sold over the past two decades. In that time over 1.3 million new homes, and tens of thousands of facilities now proudly carry the ENERGY STAR certification, using dramatically less energy and producing substantially less greenhouse gas emissions than their peers.

Back in the early days, those here at EPA had no idea how influential this program would become over time. We conceptualized ENERGY STAR as a way to help American consumers and businesses make energy efficient choices, with the goal of reducing pollution in our air and protecting our health and the environment. EPA saw an opportunity to harness the forces of the market to meet those goals in a way that would save people money and give consumers more choices. It was a pretty tall order, but today ENERGY STAR is one of the most well known brands in the country, with over 80 percent of Americans recognizing it as the symbol of superior energy efficiency. Over the past 20 years, Americans with help from ENERGY STAR, have saved a total of nearly $230 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 1.7 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

Here at ENERGY STAR we know that much of the success of this program is due to the diligence of the American people, who have made protecting the climate an important goal in their everyday lives. We thank you for your commitment and hope that you will continue to grow with us.

For more information on ENERGY STAR’s 20th anniversary, check out our website. To take a video ride through ENERGY STAR’s history, click here.

Brittney Gordon is a member of EPA’s ENERGY STAR communications team. She began working for EPA in 2010 after a career in television news.

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