[Editor’s Note: For our latest column, we invited Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance to talk about its Energy Forward regional Energy Star like labeling program for energy efficient consumer products. Matthew Herman is the author.]
For Northwest consumers, ENERGY STAR ratings are just the beginning.
Consumer purchases continue to trend toward bigger and better electronics. But that life-like picture, giant screen or flat-screen monitor doesn’t necessarily have to mean big bucks for your electricity bill. An ongoing partnership between the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA), more than 100 utility companies and select retailers delivers “Energy Forward” – an awareness campaign that alerts the public to the most energy-efficient TVs and computers among all ENERGY STAR choices.
It’s not enough to look for the Energy Star symbol (though it’s a good place to start). About 80% of TVs get the ENERGY STAR label but those that are “Energy Forward” are at least 30% more efficient—saving you potentially as much as $100 annually on your electric bill.
NEEA estimates that television viewers in the Northwest consume 3.7 billion kilowatt hours of energy each year. If they all switched over to the energy-efficient models noted in the Energy Forward campaign, Fleming estimates it would save enough energy to power all the homes in Seattle and Spokane for an entire year.
Consumers can find the most energy-efficient electronics throughout the Northwest, at quality retailers including Sears, Wal-Mart, Costco, Kmart, Sam’s Club and a range of regional and independent retailers. Look for a bright orange button guiding you to electronics that are among the best made today — and that also are at least 30 percent more energy-efficient than the basic ENERGY STAR specification.
Because it’s a regional labeling program, stores in other states don’t offer that convenience. Still, anyone anywhere can take advantage of the organization’s research: Search its interactive tool by TV size and brand here.
FAQ’s about Energy Forward:
Q: Will I sacrifice performance by buying Energy Forward electronics?
No! Super energy-efficient televisions and other electronics are on the cutting edge of technology and perform as well as or better than less efficient electronics.
Q: Do energy-efficient electronics cost more?
Most often they don’t, and they can save money on your electricity bill.
Q: In relation to other things, most televisions and electronics don’t use that much energy, do they?
According to the International Energy Agency, consumer electronics represent 15% of worldwide home power demand. And without major changes in current trends, the agency expects that percentage to triple over the next 20 years.
More information on “Energy Forward,” including a list of retailers and a complete list of super energy-efficient consumer electronics, is available at www.energyefficientelectronics.org. You can also follow Energy Forward and join in the conversation at twitter.com/energy_forward and on Facebook.