You’re probably quite familiar with the “Energy Star” company and seeing its logo on your HVAC equipment! But what exactly does the shooting star mean, and why does it matter?
Energy Star is, as you might imagine, a pretty impressive company. But unlike most companies that have probably cost you a lot of money over the years, Energy Star has more likely SAVED you money!
According to their website, they have saved individuals and businesses a grand total of 4 trillion kilowatt-hours since they were created in 1992.
You might think, “That sounds nice, but what the heck does ‘4 trillion kilowatt-hours’ really mean?”
Well, when you get your electric bill every month, often you’ll see on your statement how many “kilowatt-hours” (kWh) of energy your family used.
What exactly is a kilowatt-hour, you ask? Well, without diving too deeply into the science, one kilowatt-hour is equal to the amount of energy used in order to power a 1,000-watt device (1 kilowatt) for 1 hour.
That probably doesn’t help you much, so let’s give an example. The average oven has 2,000 watts of power. That’s 2 kilowatts. That means, if you are cooking something in the oven for half an hour, then you have used one kilowatt-hour. Or, if you use a 1,000 watt dishwasher for an hour, that’s one kilowatt-hour.
You can probably begin to see how the average American household uses about 900 kWh every month!
Why are we talking about this? Because the whole job of Energy Star is to get that number down, and to get your bill down.
(And not only have they saved people 4 trillion kilowatt-hours in the last 28 years, but by doing that, they’ve also prevented 3 billion tons of greenhouse gases from being emitted!)
As you probably know, Energy Star products include light bulbs, refrigerators, computers…but also HVAC systems! And not just A/C systems and furnaces, but also dehumidifiers, water heaters, geothermal heat pumps, and the list goes on.
So, are there any downsides at all to having Energy-Star-certified products? Really, no!
Again, all it means is that the product is certified by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. Because the product uses less power and has a longer lifetime, then, even if it costs more money initially, you can almost guarantee that the added energy efficiency will save you money in the long run.
Another way that Energy Star products can save you money in the long run is because there are tax credits offered if you bought certified products in the 2019 tax year!
(If you bought a product in the past, you may still be able to claim your credit by filing an amended tax return. We suggest you ask a tax preparer about that!)
There is a lot more information about that opportunity here on their official website, but, just as an example, if you purchased an Energy-Star-certified A/C system last year, you can get a $300 tax credit!
You’ll probably save more money in the long run from the efficiency of the products than from the tax credit, but it is certainly worth looking into.