What the EnergyGuide Label Tells Homeowners About New Systems
With an abundance of efficiency standards, performance ratings and other factors to take into consideration, it may be difficult to make sense of the diversity of available equipment when shopping for new appliances or HVAC systems. Consumers have an important interpretation tool, however, in the EnergyGuide label. The following material provides a brief introduction to EnergyGuide labels and how to understand the information they contain.
What’s an EnergyGuide Label?
An EnergyGuide label provides detailed information on the performance, energy usage and projected costs associated with a particular appliance, HVAC system or related equipment. The EnergyGuide label helps you compare the performance, efficiency and costs of similar devices so you can make the best decision to meet your needs when purchasing new equipment.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires the display of EnergyGuide labels on certain types of HVAC equipment, large appliances and consumer electronics. EnergyGuide is a part of the government’s Energy Star program, which provides education on energy issues and efficiency certification for appliances and electronic devices.
Where Is the Label?
EnergyGuide labels are usually affixed to the exterior of the equipment and are easy to identify. If the bright yellow label isn’t on the outside, check inside the door or access panel of the device. Older style labels have black text on a yellow background. Newer style labels will usually have yellow text on a black background.
When comparing and evaluating products, make sure you’re using the same type of label to make the comparison.
What Appliances Have the Label?
You can find an EnergyGuide label on a range of products, including refrigerators, dishwashers, clothes washers, televisions, water heaters, central air conditioners, furnaces, heat pumps, boilers and more.
EnergyGuide labels are appliance specific, which means that similar appliances will have similar labels with the same type of information. An EnergyGuide labels on one type of appliance will not necessarily contain the same type of information as the label on another type of device. For example, labels on dishwashers will show projected energy costs for both electric and gas water heaters. Furnace labels won’t show energy costs at all.
Parts of an EnergyGuide Label
The components of an EnergyGuide label will usually include the following:
- Basic information – This part of the label can include the manufacturer’s name, model number and equipment size or capacity. When interpreting the label, make sure this information matches the model number and other identifying characteristics of the equipment you’re evaluating.
- Key features – This will include some of the more important or notable functions of the equipment. In a refrigerator, for example, it may list features such as an automatic defrost function or a door-mounted ice dispenser.
- Estimated yearly operating cost – An estimate of the cost of operating the appliance or device under normal conditions over the course of the year should be provided. This information is based on the device’s energy use and the average cost of electricity in the United States. Newer EnergyGuide labels will use a higher estimated average cost than older labels.
- Cost range – This information provides an upper and lower range of operating costs for similar appliances or equipment. This allows an accurate and fair comparison among different models of similar products.
- Estimated yearly electricity use – This information provides an estimate of the number of kilowatt house of electricity the product will use under normal conditions in a year. Multiply this number by the average cost of a kilowatt of electricity in your geographical area to get a more accurate estimate of potential annual costs of operation.
- Energy Star logo – If the appliance or device has been Energy Star certified, the Energy Star logo will appear on the EnergyGuide label. This certification is provided by the government after the product has been thoroughly tested and shown to be as energy efficient as possible.
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