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Energy Star

Satisfactory Essays
Energy Star

An analysis of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita for 1989 in United States Dollars compared to the 1991 total energy consumed per capita in equivalent barrels of oil for several countries, found the United States and Canada guilty for having the largest oil consumption per capita at fifty-five barrels while producing a third less than the leading country, Switzerland, in GDP per capita. Switzerland, the poster boy, of efficiency manages to produce more than the United States per capita while consuming half the amount of oil. (Ristinen and Kraushaar, 1999, 6) These astonishing figures present the United States as a wasteful nation plagued by inefficiency. Therefore, it was no surprise when in 1992 the Environmental Protection Agency began a program called Energy Star whose goal was and still is to promote and identify energy efficient products that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The idea behind Energy Star was to reduce United States consumption of fossil fuels, while also making the change economically sound to Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public, thereby increasing United States overall efficiency. The program started out small, targeting electronic devices such as computers and monitors, and then snowballed into undertaking household appliances, lighting, and even businesses and homes. The mechanism on which Energy Star operates is based on an Energy Star label that is placed on appliances, devices, and anything approved by the program. This label lets consumers know that the product meets certain Energy Star efficiency guidelines that vary based on the category. However, the Energy Star program was and still is purely voluntary, meaning manufacturers have the option whether or not to generate products that meet Energy Star efficiency guidelines.

Some of the first devices that carried the Energy Star label were televisions, VCRs, and audio equipment. These devices along with a hoax of others such as copy machines, fax machines, DVD players, printers, and computers, consume energy while they are not in use or in standby mode. For the purposes of this paper, the term standby mode will be defined as the state of any electronic device that is plugged into a household power source, but has its power function turned off. Therefore, in an effort to increase efficiency, any electronic device that carries the Energy Star label will consume less energy during its standby mode. For example, in the case of a television that normally consumes six watts of electricity in standby, an Energy Star labeled television will consume fewer than three watts of electricity in its standby mode, which cuts its energy consumption in half during non-working hours.
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