The Energy Star program — created and developed in 1992 by the inventor of the Green Programs at the EPA — was originally started as a voluntary program to promote energy-efficient products and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is now an international standard for energy-efficient products in the United States and many other areas around the world. Products with the Energy Star service mark use 20-30 percent less energy than required by federal standards, which saves billions of dollars in energy costs every year.

Energy Star products are readily available in a wide range of items. Energy-efficient HVAC equipment is particularly important. If your HVAC equipment is not doing its job or you’ve had it for more than 10 years, you might want to consider upgrading it to an Energy Star unit. Half the energy in a home or commercial building generally goes to heating and cooling. Energy Star units are at least 10 percent more efficient than units that only meet the minimum government standards and will often save you as much as 30 percent in annual utility costs.

It’s estimated that 50 percent or more of heating, ventilation, and air conditioner units in the United States are underperforming due to improper equipment and installation. Finding a contractor trained to properly install HVAC equipment that meets the Energy Star guidelines is a must. When properly installed, Energy Star HVAC equipment will not only save you money, but it will increase your comfort and extend the life of your unit as well.

Over the past 20 years, Energy Star has been behind technological innovations and power management systems that have resulted in overall lower energy use. Using Energy Star labeled products reduces energy that pollutes the environment, harms the climate, and causes health problems.

Energy Star is, in fact, the most successful voluntary energy conservation program in history. It’s become a symbol of trust and quality, recognized by more than 85 percent of Americans as a way to protect our environment by saving energy. Always choose an Energy Star product, when possible, to help keep our environment clean, healthy, and beautiful.