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Energy Star
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) promotes residential energy efficiency because household energy use contributes to air pollution, including:
  • 20 percent of all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions
  • 26 of all U.S. sulfur dioxide emissions
  • 15 of all U.S. nitrogen oxides emissions
By using more energy-efficient appliances and heating and cooling equipment, and constructing more energy-efficient homes, we can reduce this pollution and 151; and save money at the same time!


Why is EPA promoting energy-efficient furnaces?
Furnaces are the most commonly used residential heating system in the United States.

  • Approximately 38 million gas furnaces are currently operating in U.S. homes and approximately 2.5 million of these furnaces are replaced annually
  • A 15-year-old furnace may be only 66% efficient and cost up to $730 per year to operate
  • A new high-efficiency furnace can be 90% efficient or greater and cost as little as $525 to operate annually
  • Choosing to purchase a furnace in the 90-96% efficiency range can reduce pollution and save homeowners hundreds of dollars over the equipment's lifetime.

What is EPA doing about it?
Industry-leading furnace manufacturers have signed agreements with EPA to produce and promote high-efficiency furnaces that are 90% efficient or greater. These high-efficiency gas furnaces squeeze energy savings from furnaces using an advanced "condensing" technology. Products qualifying for this EPA program will be identified by the EPA Energy Star logo.

How do you purchase an Energy Star furnace?
Purchasing energy-efficient products is easy - simply ask for Energy Star models when working with a contractor to select a new furnace. Most of the major furnace manufacturers have decided to participate in the EPA program.

How much money can my Energy Star furnace save?
Over 10 years an Energy Star furnace could save:

  • $1,700 relative to an old furnace
  • $920 relative to a new standard furnace.
*Savings based on $732 average annual heating bill from a 1993 American Gas Association survey for the Middle Atlantic region. EPA estimates for old furnace AFUE = 66%; standard furnace = 78%; and Energy Star = 92%. Actual savings for individual homeowners will vary based on geographical area of the country, local gas rates and the age and size of the home.

For more information about Energy Star furnaces, please contact: Peter Banwell, Manager, Energy Star Furnaces, U.S. EPA (6202J), 401 M Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20460. Phone: (202) 233-9408. Fax: (202) 233-9578.

Air conditioners and heat pumps

About half of all energy used by households goes to heating and cooling the home. Over 7% of all homes are heated and cooled with heat pumps and 24% of new homes are built with them.

  • Seventy-seven percent of new homes are now built with central air conditioning, up from 43 % in 1972
  • Over 40% of all existing homes now have central air conditioning
  • In 1994, over 1 million air-source heat pumps and almost 4 million central air conditioners were shipped from manufacturers, the most ever.

By increasing the efficiency of new heat pump and air conditioning units being installed, we can dramatically reduce the nation's energy consumption and resultant pollution. This will also help utilities offset their peak loads and avoid having to construct costly new power plants. More efficient equipment has the added benefit of helping consumers save money on their energy bills.

What is EPA doing about it?
EPA has formed a new Energy Star program with air conditioner and heat pump manufacturers. The Energy Star heat pump and air-conditioner program is a voluntary partnership between manufacturers and EPA to stimulate the market for high-efficiency products. The Energy StarSM logo is a symbol that consumers can look for to identify heat pumps and air conditioners that save energy and prevent pollution. Energy Star air conditioners are 20 percent more efficient than ones currently meeting the federal government standards. Energy Star air-source heat pumps and central air conditioners could save consumers over $350 million per year by the year 2000 in heating and air conditioning bills. Consumers will easily recognize the new, more efficient products because they will be identified by the EPA Energy Star logo shown above.

Purchasing Energy Star Heat Pumps and Air Conditioners
Utilities all over North America are promoting high-efficiency heat pumps and air conditioners because they help reduce peak demand and provide higher customer satisfaction. Energy Star heat pumps and air conditioners also produce a variety of other benefits:

  • Energy bills are dramatically reduced
  • All units come with a manufacturer's warranty
  • Pollution is reduced through the use of high-efficiency products.
In addition to asking for Energy Star when purchasing heat pumps and air conditioners, consumers should consider the following:
  • Make sure the unit is properly sized and installed to ensure maximum comfort and efficiency.
  • Contractors should be well trained in the proper installation of air-source heat pumps and central air conditioners.
  • The duct work should be installed properly, since an improperly installed system can dramatically reduce efficiency.
How Much Money Can My Energy Star Unit Save?
EPA Energy Star heat pumps and air conditioners can save users a great deal of money by reducing electricity bills. Look for the Energy StarSM logo when purchasing these products, to be sure of lowering you energy bill.

For more information about Energy Star air-source heat pumps and central air conditioners, please contact:

Steve Offutt, Manager, Energy Star Air-Source Heat Pumps and Central Air Conditioners, U.S. EPA (6202J), Washington, D.C. 20460. Phone: (202) 233-9578. Fax: (202) 233-9791.

This information courtesy of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.



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Last updated May 20, 2003