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Green Building Resource Center
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Page updated Jul 27, 2012 9:26 AM
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EnergyGuide Labels: Decoding the Yellow Tag

Energy Guide Label - image

If you've gone shopping for a major appliance recently, there’s a good chance you came across a yellow EnergyGuide label. You may have reviewed it you when were deciding on your next new appliance, comparing the the yellow tags for the lowest dollar figure. What other information is on the label and how is it important to you?

These yellow labels actually tell a comprehensive story about the major appliance you are about to purchase. Being able to quickly read and decode the information on the EnergyGuide label can help you to narrow down your potential selections and also give you a snapshot of how your purchase is going to affect utility costs in your home.

Make sure to check the following five key elements of the EnergyGuide label prior to making your next major appliance purchase:

  1. Key Features: This portion of the label lists some of the key features of the appliance. A list of similar models that share the same energy use range may appear in the white box below.
  2. Who Am I?: This section identifies the appliance by listing its manufacturer, model, and size.  
  3. The White Box Says It All: This graphic provides a bar to indicate the average yearly energy use range of similar models with like features. The model the label refers to will fall somewhere in this range. This is a great tool to see how this appliance ranks in yearly energy consumption versus comparable models with equivalent features.

    Remember, this is an average that can fluctuate in either direction based on your individual use. If you multiply this number by your local electricity rate, you may get a better idea of what the actual operating cost could be.
  4. Show Me the Money: This indicator puts a dollar amount on the projected yearly energy cost of operating this appliance. This number is based on two national averages. The first is the national average cost for energy from utility companies. The second is the national average of energy consumed by that particular appliance per year.  This dollar amount could actually vary significantly based on your regional energy cost and how often you operate the appliance.
  5. Look for the STAR: Look for the ENERGY STAR label as an indicator of products that meet the energy efficiency requirements set forth in the ENERGY STAR product specifications. It is important to note that not all products with an EnergyGuide label have earned the ENERGY STAR certification. While the EnergyGuide label helps you to compare energy use between products, the ENERGY STAR logo certifies that this model meets the energy efficiency standards set by the ENERGY STAR program. For additional information visit How a Product Earns the ENERGY STAR Label.  

Green Building Resource Center
301 King St., Room 4100
Alexandria, Va 22314
703.746.4065
Fax: 703.519.3356
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