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Buying an appliance? How do I read the Energy StarĀ® label?

A few years back my family decided to gut our kitchen and get all new everything.  I was thrilled to start picking out paint colors, cabinets, granite, flooring and most of all, appliances!  I don’t know what it is about seeing all those new shiny appliances lined up in the stores but for me it’s just as much fun as picking out a new pair of shoes.  So, off we went, with reviews in hand, along with the must have features for each. After much deliberation, it came down to two dishwashers and the guy at the box store said, “Well, according to the Energy Star label, this model will use a little less electricity.”  Um, what?  I don’t think I have ever looked at an Energy Star label, must less learn how to read one. Truthfully, I didn’t even know what one was!

So I come to find out that Energy Star is a government backed agency that helps businesses and individuals save money and protect the environment.  And, while we see those labels on many appliances, not every one can get one.  The appliances have to “earn” the Energy Star label provided they meet the standards set forth by Energy Star. The label was established to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants and to make it easy for consumers to identify and purchase energy-efficient products that will earn you savings.  It takes into account products that contribute to energy savings nationwide, if the performance of a product could be measured and tested along with other specifications.

OK, well that’s great information.  But, how do you read the label? Check out this graphic which pinpoints each of the numbers and what they actually mean.


So, after all was said and done, I wound up going with gold for the walls, hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances (all with excellent Energy Star ratings!) and granite countertops. Now that you know how to read the label,  anytime you’re considering a new home appliance purchase, be smart and use the Energy Star label to help you save energy and money all year! Armed with this information, it almost made me want to kitchen appliance shopping again. Almost…