From HDTV to Motorola Cell Phone Chargers - What is Energy Star Compliance?
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A similar certification program is the LEED ratings system for buildings, certifying they are built with the intention of using less energy and minimizing the emission of harmful pollutants.
Do You Sleep with Your Laptop?
The Energy Star label means that a given device meets or exceeds federal standards for energy efficiency if there are any – or if there aren't any federal standards for the device category it means that the device has power-saving features such as a "sleep" mode using reduced power. The federal specifications differ depending on the device you're looking at, since it wouldn't make sense to rate an air conditioner in the same way as a desktop computer or even to rate a desktop computer in the same way as a laptop computer.
An Energy Star rating means lower utility bills from using a given electronic device, and less pollution as a result – so everybody wins. What's more, the rules allowing for Energy Star compliance are about to change, becoming even more strict in 2007. At this point, all products currently featuring the Energy Star logo have to either be re-certified or stop using the logo. This way, computers, home entertainment systems, and even more mundane appliances like fridges, washers and dryers, will have to make even more effective use of your energy dollars in order to get the label. In the case of computers, the power supply will be required to have a minimum 80% overall efficiency rating. Other devices have different requirements, depending on the particular appliance or gadget.
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Although there are many different standards for energy usage, Energy Star is one of the most useful (for North Americans) because it is available on virtually all electrical and electronic equipment. Even though the requirements differ (one item may be required to be 80% efficient while another must be nearly 100% efficient to get the label) they are generally representative of the best technology available for the price in any given device category – in the case of computers, an Energy Star model will typically use as much as 70% less than a non-Energy Star model. So any time that you're looking for new electronic equipment, just remember that the Energy Star logo means longer battery life, less pollution, and lower utility bills. Now, if you make use of the Green-e program and recycling your Energy Star appliances and electronics when they've finally had it, you'll really be saving energy and resources.