If you've gone shopping for new appliances sometime in the last decade, then you're probably familiar with the ENERGY STAR® label. ENERGY STAR is a partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that sets higher-than-average standards for household appliances, electronics, and commercial products. Products that meet these rigorous energy requirements can be designated as ENERGY STAR products.
For the average consumer, it basically means that ENERGY STAR products are more energy efficient than their standard counterparts, and therefore will cost less to power. You can find the whole range of ENERGY STAR products available on their Web site. And while you're there, you can read all about their newest addition: ENERGY STAR-qualified water heaters.
ENERGY STAR-qualified water heaters were first rolled out at the beginning of 2009. Currently, you can purchase three types of water heaters: high-efficiency gas storage, whole-home gas tankless, and solar. Gas-condensing and heat pump water heaters will be available later in 2009.
Compared to normal models, these water heaters could save you an average of $30-$290 a year, depending on the type of water heater you use. And considering that the ENERGY STAR Web site says an average water heater lasts 10-15 years, that could result in hundreds, or even thousands, in savings over the life of your water heater.
So when you're in the market for a new water heater, or any household or office appliance, be sure to keep an eye out for ENERGY STAR models. It's a simple way to save energy—and all you have to do is plug in your new appliance!