Energy Star Programs
National Energy Star Programs
Regional Energy Star Resources
GOAL: The goal of the ES Programs is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions into our atmosphere by promoting the efficient (reduced) use of energy by reducing wasted energy and alleviating the need to build additional fossil fuel burning power plants. A corollary benefit of these energy efficiency programs is a reduced demand on all electric power sources including hydroelectric dams. Reducing the demand on hydroelectric dams lessens the possibility for new initiatives to build additional dams and thus contributes to the preservation of our natural river basins and helps to save our salmon runs.
The Energy Star programs are joint EPA/DOE efforts and we work under a cooperative agreement signed by both EPA and DOE agency heads.
SCOPE: Programs covered include Energy Star Buildings ( This includes Green Lights), Energy Star Small Businesses, Energy Star Homes, Energy Star Labeling, and Million Solar Roofs. The following is a discussion of each program:
Energy Star Buildings (ESB): The Energy Star Buildings program is a voluntary energy efficiency program for U.S. commercial and industrial buildings of aggregate areas of over 100,000 square feet. Expanding on the successful Green Lights program, Energy Star Buildings focuses on the profitable investment opportunities available in most buildings, using proven technologies. Program participants can reduce energy consumption by 40%, prevent pollution, and lower electricity bills by 35%. The program is a 5-stage implementation strategy that takes advantage of system interactions and enables building owners to achieve additional energy savings while lowering capital expenditures. The five stages are as follows:
Stage One: Green Lights
Lighting, as included under the Energy Star Buildings program is the exact same as the original Green Lights program. In many retail and office buildings half of electric bills are for lighting. In many school buildings lighting accounts for up to 75% of electric bills. So it makes sense to address lighting first to reduce energy costs. Efficient lighting pays for itself quickly. Five years of Energy Star experience show that successful lighting upgrades provide Partners with dramatic savings and positive reinforcement for pursuing further projects. Lighting upgrades often improve lighting quality, which can boost worker productivity and enhance the appearance of merchandise. For all these reasons, lighting is included as the first upgrade area.
Stage two: Building Tune-Up
Facilities maintenance staff can do many tune-up activities themselves, such as cleaning equipment and replacing filters. Other tune-up measures, such as adjusting furnaces or repairing malfunctioning controls, may require the services of contractors. In addition to maintenance and repair activities building owners are encouraged to develop and implement an ongoing preventative maintenance plan. Stage two upgrades improve occupant comfort and indoor air quality, and the upgrades are no-cost or low-cost strategies that lay the foundation for further savings in later stages.
Stage three: Load Reduction
Load reduction strategies reduce the amount of heating, cooling, or electricity use through low-cost measures that are easy to implement. Reducing the amount of heated or cooled air that escapes from a building through cracks in windows or ducts will reduce heating and cooling costs. Installation of window films, shades, and awnings will reduce heat gain in the summer. Landscaping measures such as adding trees and vines to block direct sunlight also help.
Simple steps to ensure that lights and office equipment are not left on by accident should also be taken. This may include addition of motion sensors or timers. In addition, new equipment purchases should include equipment with the Energy Star logo to insure future savings.
Stage Four: Heating and Cooling Distribution System
This stage involves evaluation of the efficiency of the fans and pumps associated with the building heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems. Upgrades to the building distribution system will save energy while improving occupant comfort. Efficiencies may be obtained by upgrading constant-air-volume systems with variable-air-volume (VAV) systems, upgrading VAV systems with variable speed drives (VSD), reducing fan over sizing, and replacing existing motors with smaller, high-efficiency motors.
Stage Five: Heating and Cooling Plant
By implementing Stages one through four, reduction in the overall heating and cooling requirements in the building will now be able to afford smaller and more efficient heating and cooling units. Because replacing heating or cooling equipment requires the largest commitment of capital, it is recommended that these replacements be done last. This is the stage where all previous hard work and commitment really pays off. Included here would be replacement of chillers, retrofit water pumps and compressors with VSDs, and replacement of electric resistance heat where possible.
Energy Star Small Business (ESSB): The ESSB program applies to businesses with less than 100,000 square feet of building floor space. It employs the same five stage approach as the Energy Star Buildings program. The main difference between the ESSB and ESB programs is that there is no requirement to report accomplishment of upgrades in the ESSB program. Reporting is desired but not required.
Energy Star Homes (ESH): This is a program in which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency works to create partnerships with home builders to significantly reduce the 110 billion dollars annually spent by American families on energy use. Through these partnerships, builders profitably develop new homes that use 30 percent less energy than homes built to the latest Model Energy Code (MEC). The program addresses the entire building package including the building envelope, HVAC, appliances, insulation, windows, etc. Builders make all the choices on how to meet this performance threshold based on technical recommendations provided by EPA. Participation in EPA’s Energy Star Homes Program gives builders access to:
Home buyers receive numerous advantages including:
- Innovative financing options featuring no increased down payment and lower net operating expenses
- Marketing and advertising support
- Use of the Energy Star logo on qualifying homes
- Public recognition for providing environmentally responsive homes
Energy Star Labeling (ESL): This a joint EPA/DOE program. The Energy Star Labeling Programs were created to promote the purchase and use of highly energy-efficient equipment. Most energy is produced by burning coal, oil and natural gas. Burning these fossil fuels contributes to a host of air pollution problems, such as smog, acid rain, and global warming. By using less energy than conventional new equipment, Energy Star labeled products will significantly decrease air pollution. In addition, this energy efficient equipment will help consumers save money on their utility bills.
Energy Star labeled products include office equipment (computers, monitors, printers, faxes, scanners, multi-function devices); residential heating and cooling equipment (furnaces, boilers, heat pumps, and programmable thermostats); household appliances (dishwasher, refrigerators, and room air-conditioners) and other products for homes and offices (residential light fixtures, insulation, and exit signs). Any of these products which meet energy efficiency criteria set by EPA/DOE may carry the Energy Star label. Energy efficient new homes may also carry the Energy Star label.
Million Solar Roofs (MSR): Million Solar Roofs is an initiative to install solar energy systems on one million U.S. buildings by 2010. It was announced by President Clinton on June 26, 1997 in his speech before the United Nations Session on Environment and Development. This effort includes three types of solar technology -- photovoltaics that produce electricity from sunlight, solar thermal panels that produce heat for domestic hot water, for space heating or for heating swimming pools, and solar thermal walls to pre-condition recirculated building air or outside or ventilation air.
The program is designed to bring together partners in the building industry, other federal agencies, local and state governments, utilities, the solar energy industry, financial institutions and non-governmental organizations to remove market barriers to solar energy use and develop and strengthen local demand for solar energy products and applications. The Million Solar Roofs Initiative will bring together the resources of the Federal government with key national businesses and organizations and focus them on building a strong market for solar energy applications on buildings.
The three principal goals of the Initiative are:
- Improved comfort
- Improved indoor air quality
- Easy access to attractive mortgage financing
- Higher resale values
- Positive cash-flow every month
- Superior quality construction
- Satisfaction of contribution to cleaner environment
REGION 10 ROLE: Most of our efforts are involved with outreach activities directed towards supporting the various Headquarters Energy Star program managers. We do telephone contacts, attend local and regional trade conferences, mail program information bulletins and brochures to interested prospects, attend Energy Star related meetings, and attempt to stay well informed and educated on all the ES programs.
We are in a constant network building process whereby we are establishing contacts within federal, state and local governments, businesses, industry, public schools, and homeowners and residential builders. We must continuously keep abreast of changes and revisions to all the ES programs. This is no small effort, because each of the ES programs is headed by a different person and each has their own unique approach to how the programs should be implemented. In addition, all of the programs use service contractors to produce and distribute program information and to keep track of those companies and organizations that have signed on to the various programs. We have to have sufficient supply of all program information publications to be able to distribute them in a timely manner to new prospects or current participants.
EPA Region 10 Solar Project Fall 1998
The EPA Region 10 Million Solar Roofs project is a 2.1 kW installation at our environmental assessment laboratory in Manchester, WA. The system will be used as a source of alternate power for a laboratory that has as its mainstay system a Scintag Diffractometer. This system requires both 208 VAC single phase @ 30 amps and 120 VAC @ 20 amps.
The system will be configured as a grid connected system with battery storage to provide UPS in case of grid power interrupt. We anticipate normal laboratory operation to be approximately two working days per week (8 hours per day). So, there is potential for generating substantial electricity credits into the power grid.
The system configuration will use 28 BP275F, 75 watts each, solar modules from BP Solar Inc.
These modules use h8igh efficiency monocrystalline silicon cells. Two Trace Engineering SW5548 Inverters will be used for DC to AC conversion. To maximize the incidence of sun light, the panels will be installed on Zomeworks Universal (passive) Trackers.
The system will be installed as a two day classroom, instructional project with 20 to 25 students participating in the installation process. Installation is currently projected to occur in early to mid October 1998.
- Reduce greenhouse gas and emissions using clean energy from the sun. In 2010, with one million solar energy roofs in place, the Initiative would reduce carbon emissions in an amount equivalent to the annual emissions from 850,000 cars.
- Create high-tech jobs in the solar energy industry. By 2010, approximately 70,000 new jobs could be created as a result of the increased demand for photovoltaic, solar water heating and related solar energy systems.
- Keep the U.S. solar energy industry competitive. By increasing the domestic market for solar energy, increasing domestic production and reducing the unit cost for solar energy systems, the Initiative will enable U.S. companies to retain their competitive edge in the worldwide market. By 2005, the photovoltaic market alone is expected to exceed $1.5 billion worldwide.