October 14, 2009
The Department's Management of the ENERGY STAR Program
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) authorized about $300 million in consumer rebate incentives for purchases of products rated under the "ENERGY STAR" Program. ENERGY STAR, a voluntary labeling program established in 1992, provides consumers with energy efficiency data for a range of products so that they can make informed purchase judgments. The overall goal of the program is to encourage consumers to choose energy efficient products, advancing the nationwide goal of reducing energy consumption. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) managed the ENERGY STAR Program on a stand-alone basis until 1996 when it joined forces with the Department of Energy (Department). A Memorandum of Cooperation expanded the ENERGY STAR product categories, giving the Department responsibility for overseeing eight product categories such as windows, dishwashers, clothes washers, and refrigerators, while EPA retained responsibility for electronic product categories and heating, ventilating, and cooling equipment. Each agency is responsible for setting product efficiency specifications for those items under its control and for ensuring the proper use of the ENERGY STAR label in the marketplace.