Published March 14, 2005 12:00 AM

Understanding, Sales of Energy Star-Labeled Products on the Rise

BOSTON — Nationwide recognition and understanding of the Energy Star label has once again taken a significant jump, according to a survey conducted by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE). More than two-thirds of U.S. consumers now demonstrate a basic understanding of the label.

CEE is a Boston-based nonprofit organization that promotes energy-saving products and technologies. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency analyzed CEE's survey data and recently released a report that is available on the Energy Star Web site. This report presents strong evidence that Energy Star is helping Americans make consumer choices that are energy efficient and good for the environment.

Energy Star, a joint program of the U.S. EPA and Dept. of Energy, identifies and promotes products and practices that are the most energy efficient. Energy Star-qualified products, generally in the top 25% when tested for efficiency, are voluntarily marked by manufacturers with the Energy Star label.

Survey findings include:

--64% of households recognize the Energy Star label, up from 56% in 2003.
--68% have a "high" or "general" understanding of the label, up from 62% in 2003.
--54% of households that purchased an Energy Star-labeled product in the previous 12 months reported that the label had influenced their purchasing decision.
--73% of households that purchased an Energy Star-labeled product would recommend labeled products to a friend.

The U.S. Dept. of Energy has also released data from Energy Star retail partners that reveals dramatic increases in the sales and market share of Energy Star-qualified appliances:
--In 2004, market share of Energy Star-qualified clothes washers market passed 30% for the first time. In 1997, this figure was less than one-half of 1%.
In the last two years, the market share of Energy Star-qualified dishwashers has doubled, from less than 40% to nearly 80%.

When the Energy Star criteria for refrigerators became more stringent in 2001, there were no sales of Energy Star-qualified refrigerators for the first two months. In 2004, market share exceeded 30%.

As a complement to Energy Star's national marketing efforts, local utilities and energy-efficiency organizations have promoted Energy Star-labeled products in their own regions. The CEE survey demonstrates that publicity from active regional and local energy-efficiency program sponsors increases recognition, understanding and influence of the label.


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