Best recognized by consumers for its bright blue star, the ENERGY STAR® label has joined the ranks of some of the world’s most well-known brands. As reported by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE), 91 percent of U.S. households report recognizing the label, the highest level of recognition since the CEE first conducted the survey in 2000.

However, the label goes beyond clothes washers and dryers, touching on more than 70 categories within the residential and commercial marketplace. Some surprises might include pool pumps, vending machines and decorative light strings all fall under the label.

The program was created in 1992 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to help consumers identify and purchase energy-efficient products while saving money on their energy bills. Products earn the label by meeting the energy efficiency requirements outlined in the product specification, based on these guiding principles:

  • Contribute significant energy savings
  • Increase energy efficiency and meet the consumer’s demand for features and performance
  • Offset any increased product cost by adding increased energy efficiency through utility bill savings
  • Independently measure and verify product performance and energy consumption
  • Differentiate products and be visible for purchasers

UL’s Contribution

UL contributes to this popular program by qualifying products in 37 product categories and serves as an EPA-recognized Certification Body (CB) for 39 products. Product testing takes place at UL accredited laboratories while certification occurs at UL’s Northbrook facility.

To be qualified, a product must first undergo testing to help ensure conformity to government regulations. Once testing is completed, the results are evaluated, and if the product meets the government’s requirements, it is certified.

“UL is an ardent supporter of this program and highly values our participation as an accredited test lab,” says Mike Kuo, Vice President & Regional General Manager for the Consumer Technology Division at UL. “The Program has saved Americans literally billions of dollars on their utility bills and we, at UL, are proud to be involved.”