By: Eamon Monahan
The ENERGY STAR label is great because it’s simple – nearly everyone knows that a product with the little blue square has been independently certified to meet strict energy efficiency requirements. But if you are looking for more information about these products, you should check out EPA’s recently updated product finder. It is a fantastic resource for those interested in more of the technical details and features of specific products, in a broad range of categories – including electronics, appliances, lighting, and heating and cooling equipment. With the rollout of the ENERGY STAR product finder over the course of 2013, EPA has made data easier to find, understand, and use than ever before.
Compared to the old Excel-based approach, the ENERGY STAR product finder represents a huge improvement in usability. The basic view is designed to resemble the kind of experience that consumers are familiar with while browsing retail sites. Users are able to sort and filter results based on the key criteria they are interested in, as well as compare results for up to four different products. A keyword search also allows you to zero in on a particular brand name or model number, even a portion of a model number.
For the more technically inclined, an advanced view allows open access to the complete data set for each ENERGY STAR product category. The Excel-based lists are still available here, but the data can also be downloaded in five other formats for easy machine-readability. Users can create unique data visualizations and custom reports based on real-time data, and they are encouraged to create accounts to save and share their work.
Access to the dataset’s API (application programming interface) also allows users to create their own tools and apps based on certified product data. An app could, for example, help people identify what size refrigerator they should look for to replace an old one, then provide a list of ENERGY STAR certified models that meet that criteria.
EPA hopes individuals and businesses will take full advantage of this improved access to product performance data, to make it easier than ever for consumers to make informed decisions on energy efficient products. To get started browsing through ENERGY STAR certified products or developing your own innovative mobile app based on EPA’s data, visit the ENERGY STAR website.
Eamon Monahan works on program integrity and communications for the ENERGY STAR products program. He oversees the testing and certification process for all 65 product categories and assisted in the development of the ENERGY STAR product finder tool.