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Energy Star is a voluntaly partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and industry. Energy Star, at both DOE andsEPA, is based on legislative mandates to implement voluntary, non-regulatory programs to promote products that are substantially more efficient than required by Federal standards (the DOE Energy Star program originated with Section 127 of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPACT), and the EPA Energy Star program originated with Section 103 of the CleansAir Act amendments of 1990). The base criteria under EPACT requires DOE to establish voluntary energy efficiency product programs that serve to increase the technical energy performance potential of products, are cost-effective for the consumer, save energy and thus reduce green house gas emissions. Criteria used by EPA under the Clean Air Act are similar but reflect a greater emphasis on reducing green house gas emissions.
The primary objective of the partnership is to expand the market for energy-efficient products. EPA and DOE use the Energy Star label to recognize and promlote the most energy-efficient subset of the market. The label is a simple mechanism that allows consumers to easily identify the most energy-efficient products in the marketplace. In developing specifications for the Energy Star label, EPA and DOE consider several key factors, including:
- Energy and enviromental savings based on unit sales aggregated at the national level;
- Assurance that the efficient product offers the same or better overall performance as a less efficient product;
- Assurances that the technologies or processes required for a more efficient product are commercially available and nonproprietary.