Choosing The Energy Star Most-Efficient Label

Most homeowners know the value of choosing products with the Energy Star logo. Since 1992, it has been the go-to beacon, helping homeowners differentiate more-efficient home heating and cooling equipment, electronics and appliances from less-efficient products. But the Energy Star program is evolving. Motivated by multiple factors, the program has unveiled its Most-Efficient label, a designation that changes every year, giving manufacturers the opportunity to have their products earn this new coveted label. Here’s what’s different about the Energy Star Most-Efficient label, and how it benefits homeowners.

To earn the Energy Star Most-Efficient label for 2012, appliances must meet certain criteria. Right now, products in just a few categories can earn the new label. Namely, only refrigerators, clothes washers, heating and cooling equipment and televisions can be awarded Most-Efficient status. To learn the value of this coveted designation, it’s helpful to understand the differences in federal efficiency standards, Energy Star criteria and how a product earns Most-Efficient status.

  • The present Department of Energy minimum standard for gas-powered furnaces is an annual fuel utilization efficiency of 78 percent. This means that the furnace will use only 78 percent of the fuel it consumes. The rest will go up the chimney.
  • Energy Star-qualified furnaces must rate higher than the minimum standards set by the government. Gas-powered furnaces purchased in the North (including Colorado) must have an AFUE of 95 percent or better, while furnaces in the South must have an AFUE of 90 percent or better.
  • The Energy Star Most-Efficient label can be awarded only to gas-powered furnaces that have an AFUE of 97 percent or better.

As you can see, the differences in criteria among the three differ greatly, with the new label clearly highlighting the best of the best. It’s important to remember one other important distinction in the new label’s criteria: Independent third-party testing is now required in order to qualify. To qualify for the Energy Star label, manufacturers can test their own products.

Balance Point Heating & Air Conditioning is happy to help you navigate the new Energy Star Most-Efficient label. Contact us with your questions. We serve homeowners in greater Fort Collins.

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