I received an email the other day from a woman who works with Energy Star. What is Energy Star you may ask? Here's their answer:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency established Energy Star in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership to reduce air pollution by giving consumers simple energy-efficient choices. Today, with assistance from the U.S. Department of Energy, the Energy Star label is a feature on more than 40 types of products.
In short, they are the guys who tell you how much power refrigerators, washers, dryers, etc. use and how they compare in usage and cost against each other. They ones that perform the best get the Energy Star "seal of approval." I've posted about Energy Star previously.
The stuff she sent me was pretty informative and contained information I thought you would like to know, so over the next few days, I'll be posting on the topic. Here's part 1 which consists of some facts she put in the email:
In light of energy and electricity costs, now at a record high, Hurricane Katrina's impact on Gulf energy production, and recent passage of a new national Energy bill, Energy Star is offering additional information to help consumers have a better sense of control over household energy costs and expected price increases this winter.
There are many ways consumers can save on household energy bills -- while protecting the environment -- by having the right information, and taking a few simple steps.
This winter, government forecasts predict that electricity costs will be up 11%; petroleum will be up 34%; propane will increase by 16%; and natural gas, on average, will increase 52% (with wide swings across the U.S.) (EIA/Sept 2005). Region-by-region, heating costs this winter, as compared to last, are expected to rise 66-77% for natural gas in the Midwest; 17-18% for electric in the South; 29-33% for heating in the Northeast; and 39-43% for propane in the Midwest. Total spending on both electricity and energy is at record high, and spending on electricity is the highest as share of consumer spending since the California energy crisis of 2000 (Economy.com)
Energy Star is providing a list of general energy savings recommendations, as well as a summary of consumer-relevant tax credits in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Both resources can help consumers consider and take steps to save energy, as winter approaches. The Energy Star website offers additional consumer advice on year-round energy savings and efficiency, as well as our toll-free hotline 1-888-STAR-YES.
Stay tuned if you want some money saving tips on how to save on heating costs. It looks like we're all going to need them.