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The Appliance May Be Energy Efficient, But Is it ‘Most Efficient?’

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Most EfficientHome buyers are increasingly reporting they want more energy savings, and plenty of homes are promoting “Energy Star” home appliances to help satisfy that desire. But some say that too many appliances are earning the “Energy Star” designation, and it’s starting to lose its impact.

To counter that, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy, which jointly run the Energy Star program, have recently announced the new “most efficient” label, which is reserved for the utmost energy efficient washers, dryers, and other appliances. Only the top 5 percent of energy-efficient products will earn the designation.

The Energy Star Most Efficient program, which will run on a pilot basis through the rest of the year, will first award the designation to clothes washers, heating and cooling equipment, televisions, and refrigerator-freezers. In the fall, EPA will consider new categories eligible for the label.

The “most efficient” label comes at a time when the Energy Star program was facing mounting criticism that too many appliances were earning the Energy Star designation. Consumer Reports, in its October 2010 issue, said that the label was virtually becoming meaningless to consumers because it was being overused.

“When more than 35 percent of all products sold in any category qualify for Energy Star, that should signal that the technology and economies of scale have reached a point where achieving an Energy Star is too easy and that the bar needs to be raised,” the magazine said.

To see the products so far earning the “Most Efficient” label, visit energystar.gov/mostefficient.

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