• Our bias is: the presence/absence of an energy-rating label on a product doesn’t automatically make your purchase a matter of conscience. This text is lifted from the Environmental Protection Agency’s excellent Energy Star website, Products page.
  • “Did you know that the average home spends about $2,000 on energy bills every year? Change to appliances that have earned the ENERGY STAR, and you can save $75 a year in energy costs, while saving the environment.”
  • I trust the EPA to assess the potential savings of Energy Star products without exaggeration.  I accept that the researchers have no commercial bias when rating the products and services they list as “Energy Star” compliant. I do question the moral weight of a $75 dollar per year savings in energy costs as a motive for replacing an existing appliance, and as a motive for choosing an Energy Star-rated appliance over another reputable brand using as little as 4% more energy in normal operation.
  • I hear the mob with pitchforks in the distance, but that’s my position. I love the Energy Star site, I love the idea, I like the products. But I won’t make a face if I see you using an unrated coffee maker for your once-a-day brew. There are places in the home where I think Energy Star is an important factor in a buying decision (link to blog post).  But you can make a personal choice about house-wide Energy Star compliance without selling the planet to the smog-worshippers, I believe. That said, when I need to replace an appliance, even an electronic gadget, I’ll be consulting the Energy Star site to gather data about the energy performance of my favorite candidates.
  • I admit an additional bias, as well, in being old-fashioned about conservation techniques. I still believe that the most energy-efficient light bulb is the one that’s off, and the most efficient thermostat is the one that’s turned to a low setting. A Dodge Ram beats a Prius for fuel efficiency if you leave it in the driveway, and so on. We Americans, citizens of the greatest national experiment in world history, have a sense of entitlement about convenience that drives our energy habits. Energy Star products won’t solve that problem, nor will I in this little essay. Great events will be required to start an honest conversation about a change in American energy consumption. Until then, smart buying choices about energy  can be balanced against other factors like price and preference.

links to more info...

helios at home (blog)

buying a furnace