Your Energy Watchdog
Disclosing privileged Energy & Environmental saving details since 1982.

The Energy Star Label has been in town since 1992,
... but is it the MOST energy efficient protection?

This is a "Watchdog in Action" page:

energy star label

Now Hear This...
The energy star is helpful, but the label DOES NOT mean you are looking at the MOST energy efficient model made. Any appliance with an energy star means it is more efficient than an appliance without one.


now learn this

How much more efficient is the BIG question.

The energy star model you are looking at could be:
- the MOST efficient
- the AVERAGE efficient
- the LEAST efficient that is just passing the minimum requirements for an energy star.
(The same models without the star will be even less efficient)

So how do you know what the efficiency is of the model you are looking at?

BELOW is the real SHERIFF in town and YELLOW is the color:

yellow energy guide

That's right, a yellow EnergyGuide Label
that can tell you which appliance is...

- the best for saving energy
- the okay for saving energy
- the worst for saving energy

Even among the appliances wearing a star!

View Consumer Report on ABC
confirming what our Watchdog in Action
has been saying for years

Watchdog in Action: This video is about the other BIG problem with the Nation's average cost most likely based on "IDEAL TEST LAB" conditions!

energy guide label

The energyguide label above is for a Refrigerator-Freezer, Automatic Defrost and this is how you read one:

1.) Make sure you compare models that are the same size: See top left corner of label above - (20.1 Cubic feet)

2.) Note the RANGE this label applies to: See top right side of label under "GUIDE" in ENERGYGUIDE - (Only models with 18.5 to 20.4 cubic feet are compared in the scale)

3.) For this 20.1 size, the MOST efficient model has the lowest energy cost of $50.00 per year: See the Black Bar under the large $48 in the label above, now look at the left end - ($50 above a black triangle pointing down)

4.) The LEAST efficient model has the highest energy cost of $108.00 per year: See the right end of the Black Bar under the large $48 - ($108 above a black triangle pointing down)

5.) A black triangle will point down to a location on the Black Bar to show where this model efficiency is and an estimated cost based on the Nation's Average electric rate will be above that black triangle. This yellow energy guide above has the estimated cost of $48 per year, but no black triangle. WHY? Because at the time the label was printed the MOST efficient model was costing $50.00 per year as shown at the left end of the Black Bar. This model came in even more efficient than that. So it is OFF the Black Bar scale with only $48.00 per year!

If this model was in the middle of the Black Bar scale for efficiency, then the black triangle would be in the middle of the Black Bar and have a large $79 above it.

6.) NOW WAIT A MINUTE, we are not done. Remember "based on the Nation's Average electric rate" stated in number 5 above? Well that is just the point. The large number of $48.00 is based on a 1993 national average electric rate of 8.3 cents per kilowatt hour. This info is under ENERGY of the word ENERGYGUIDE on the yellow label. A close up is shown in this image below:

energyguide label

The meaning is that most likely this is not your electric cost for the year.
Especially if you live in the areas of our country with higher than average electric rates.

Watchdog in Action: There is another BIG problem!
The Nation's average cost is most likely based on "IDEAL TEST LAB" conditions!

7.) However, this old Energy Guide Label helped out with this issue by printing more data at the bottom of the label. A chart showing the different estimated costs for different kilowatt rates. Below the white chart it also told you to ASK your salesperson or local utility for the energy rate in your area.

So now because I know that my area of the country pays the utility company .14 cents per Kilowatt (more than what is shown on the white chart below) my electric bill will be more than the $69 shown for the .12 cents rate. Figure about $81.00 per year. Compare to a twenty year old refrigerator (1973 model), the savings will be over $150.00 per year.


Watchdog in Action: This vedio is about the other BIG problem when the Nation's average cost is most likely based on "IDEAL TEST LAB" conditions! How can us consumers know?

That helpful yellow energyguide was used in the 1990s.

The new energyguide we see today looks like this:
Ugh, talk about cutting corners!

label inside

The new yellow energyguide labels do say more on model description to help compare the same models.
After all you must compare a Macintosh apple to a Macintosh apple,
not to a Golden Delicious apple and certainly not to an orange.

- However, the Black Bar is now under one large black triangle pointing down.
- The position it points to on the Black Bar is relative to its efficiency.
- Above the large black triangle is not the estimated electric cost, but the models consumption of KiloWatt Hours per year.
- On each end of the Black Bar you see the KiloWatt consumption per year for the model using the LEAST energy and on the other end the model using the MOST energy.

Our surveys and questions to consumers show that most consumers do not understand what kWh/year means.

Now to confuse the consumer more, is a dollar amount at the bottom of the energyguide.


- Why are we going from kWh/year to dollars?

- Is this the yearly electric cost I will pay?

- Is this the Nation's average cost and is it based on "IDEAL TEST LAB" conditions?

- Okay if this $59 amount is based on the Nation's average kWh rate, then what is mine?

There is no additional printed information stating ASK your salesperson or utility company.

There is No Chart showing the different estimated costs in dollars for different kilowatt rates in the country.

What if the difference between the MOST efficient model and the LEAST efficient model was only $7.00 a year. You can not get this data from today's EnergyGuide Label and you should, because if a young couple really loves this model's look and design over the more efficient model, then that couple can see that there is a very little difference between the models in energy efficiency. Thus, not feel guilty for buying the less efficient model that they really love because both models are very efficient. A seven dollar difference per year puts both models on the same team for saving the most energy. BUT, if the difference was $80.00 a year or more, then that is a different story.

team workAn Energy Star label and the EnergyGuide label make a great team, but they are confusing to many consumers. The answers to making them more understandable is just some well managed team work away.