What is Energy Star?
ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices.
In 1992, the (EPA) introduced ENERGY STAR as a voluntary labeling program designed to identify and promote energy-efficient products to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Computers and monitors were the first labeled products. Through 1995, EPA expanded the label to additional office equipment products and residential heating and cooling equipment. In 1996, EPA partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy for particular product categories. The ENERGY STAR label is now on major appliances, office equipment, lighting, home electronics, and more. EPA has also extended the label to cover new homes and commercial and industrial buildings.
Through its partnerships with more than 12,000 private and public sector organizations, ENERGY STAR delivers the technical information and tools that organizations and consumers need to choose energy-efficient solutions and best management practices. ENERGY STAR has successfully delivered energy and cost savings across the country, saving businesses, organizations, and consumers about $16 billion in 2007 alone. Over the past decade, ENERGY STAR has been a driving force behind the more widespread use of such technological innovations as efficient fluorescent lighting, power management systems for office equipment, and low standby energy use.
Recently, energy prices have become a hot news topic and a major concern for consumers. ENERGY STAR provides solutions. ENERGY STAR provides a trustworthy label on over 50 product categories (and thousands of models) for the home and office. These products deliver the same or better performance as comparable models while using less energy and saving money. ENERGY STAR also provides easy-to-use home and building assessment tools so that homeowners and building managers can start down the path to greater efficiency and cost savings.
This is all very interesting, you say, but what’s in it for me? Well, besides having a smaller carbon footprint, you can get a federal tax credit.
On October 3, 2008, President Bush signed into law the "Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008." This bill extended tax credits for energy efficient home improvements (windows, doors, roofs, insulation, HVAC, and non-solar water heaters). Tax credits for these residential products, which had expired at the end of 2007, will now be available for improvements made during 2009. However, improvements made during 2008 are not eligible for a tax credit. So for once, if you have been putting off making those improvements you’ve talked about for years, procrastination may be the better part of valor.
The residential tax credit is available for these energy efficient improvements, placed in service in 2009:
The tax credit for solar water heaters and solar panels, which remained in effect for 2008, has been extended to 2016. If you are building a new home, you do not qualify for the tax credits for "eligible building envelope components" (windows, doors, insulation, roofs) or "qualified energy property" (HVAC & non-solar water heaters). However, the tax credit for photovoltaics, solar water heating, and fuel cells is available for homeowners building new homes.
Not all ENERGY STAR qualified homes and products qualify for a tax credit. Be sure to check www.energystar.gov to see if your home or product qualify.