Question: What, exactly, is ENERGY STAR? I keep seeing the name on appliance labels. What does it mean? Why do people keep telling me to buy ENERGY STAR products?

Answer: Good question. ENERGY STAR is one of those labels that gets thrown around a lot, but many people aren’t actually sure what it means.

Essentially, ENERGY STAR is an international program that establishes criteria for product claims about energy efficiency. For products to carry the ENERGY STAR label, they must meet a strict set of technical specifications related to energy usage.

Products that can carry the ENERGY STAR label include:

  • major appliances, including refrigerators, dishwashers, clothes washers and freezers
  • residential heating and cooling equipment like air conditioners and furnaces
  • office equipment such as computers, printers, servers and copiers
  • consumer electronics like televisions, stereos and video equipment
  • lighting products such as lamps and lightbulbs
  • commercial products like cooking equipment, dishwashers, solid-door refrigerators and freezers (and, most recently, deep-fat fryers)
  • windows and doors
  • new homes

Using ENERGY STAR equipment can definitely save you money. For example, if you install a high-efficiency natural gas deep-fat fryer, you can save approximately $1,120 on your energy costs over a year, with a payback period of 2.1 years.

In Canada, the ENERGY STAR program is administered by National Resources Canada’s Office of Energy Efficiency. Take a look at their section for more information about ENERGY STAR for commercial kitchens. And check out the ENERGY STAR website for more information about ENERGY STAR for restaurants.

Have you installed ENERGY STAR products in your kitchen? Share your experience in the comments section.