If you are in the market for new appliances and have been shopping lately, you’ve likely seen the blue “Energy Star” label on many products, but not just electronics. This label is put on any product that is designed to foster certain standards of energy efficiency that are determined by the U.S. Department of Energy and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). This standard was established in 1992 as part of the Clean Air Act, to help identify products that are highly efficient or help conserve energy in the home and workplace. The Energy Star label covers many different products as well as appliances across several industries and usually indicates a better build quality as well.
Energy Star Products
Many appliances, building components and electronics of all brands across several types of industries carry the Energy Star certification. This means there are less pollutants being released into the air which science has shown causes many health problems. In fact, you may already have one or more of these products in your home:
- Kitchen appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, stoves, microwaves and toaster ovens.
- Home construction products such as skylights, windows, entry doors, insulation, roofing materials and more.
- Ceiling fans, lighting and other related products such as light fixtures, bulbs, Christmas lights, and tabletop fans.
- Electric and gas water heaters including tankless and solar powered models.
- Entertainment electronics such as TV’s, game consoles, computers and audio equipment.
- HVAC systems and all components included for use in HVAC systems.
The Importance of Energy Star in HVAC Products
The product category where Energy Star certification makes the most impact is in building components and appliances that protect and comfort from the outside elements. Products such as insulation, radiant barrier, roofing materials, sealants, windows, doors and the industry we specialize in; HVAC systems are all subject to Energy Star certification. Think about what life was like before the innovation of heating and cooling systems. Can you imagine sweating it out in your house on a sweltering July afternoon in Houston? With nothing but the breeze to keep you cool we imagine life was pretty miserable during those summers. The flip side to the innovation of heating and cooling systems is that you also end up using more electricity.
An HVAC system performs three main functions – heating, cooling and ventilation; all which is distributed throughout the home via a series of ducts and vents. Given that most of electricity usage in homes stems from HVAC usage, having an Energy Star certified HVAC system can mean thousands of dollars in savings on utility bills over time.
How Energy Star Applies to HVAC Systems
With the ENERGY STAR rating system, HVAC units that are certified generally are better in terms of build quality as well as more energy efficient than units not rated; in some cases, the units can be as much as 20% more efficient! That difference can have a huge impact on your utility bill which trickles down into extra funds in your overall budget. Modern HVAC systems like the Lennox L18XC1 we carry are rated with what’s called a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). Most systems available range in SEER ratings from 13 to 26 and the higher the number, the more energy efficient the system is.
When you purchase an HVAC system, the unit must carry a SEER rating of at least 14.5 as well as an Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) of 11.0 for single models or 12.0 for split HVAC systems, to be Energy Star certified. Anything less than this and you will be running at a less than optimal efficiency rate and will spend more money on utilities than you need to.
How HVAC Products Earn Their Energy Star Rating
The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has established standards and specifications in place that HVAC products must adhere to, to be Energy Star certified. Some of these strict specifications include, but are not limited to the following:
- Products must show increased energy savings for consumers in the US regardless of location.
- Products must still have features and levels of performance consumers expect in similar products.
- Consumers must see monthly savings in utility bills even if the product costs more than an alternate product that is not as efficient.
- Performance and efficiency claims must be able to be validated through testing.
- Products must have visible labels that easily identify the differences between certified HVAC products and non-certified ones.
Rebates & Tax Credits on Energy Star HVAC Units
While the Energy Star certified Lennox units we install will save you money every month on utility bills, this and initiatives by the EPA, Energy Star products may also be eligible for manufacturers and utility companies rebates that are government sponsored and can bring your cost down even more. You should also check with your local city government and utility company, to see if they offer any additional incentives or discounts for installing efficient systems.
The Energy Star website has great resources where you can get more information on the more technical aspects of the certifications. You can also check to see which, if any HVAC systems currently qualify for a tax credit and what you must provide to receive those credits.
Promotional rebates from manufacturers and utility companies are also worth asking your consultant about. Even if there are no available rebates, installing an Energy Star HVAC system from AirTeam will save you money in the long run as well as monthly on your energy bills. After all, we are the first to admit that investing in a new HVAC system can be costly, but you want the best equipment that will save you money year after year, because it adds up. Every dollar you save is in essence, a discount on the system you purchased and when you think about it that way it makes sense to invest.
Start Saving Now with AirTeam
Your comfort and budget shouldn’t have to compromise when it comes to heating and cooling your home. Contact one of our comfort specialists today, and we will match your needs with one of our award-winning Lennox Energy Star certified systems. Let AirTeam be your Houston champions when it comes to service, quality and experience in the HVAC industry.