Most everyone has seen the ENERGY STAR sticker on one appliance or another, highlighting the product’s intended energy efficiency. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR spokeswoman, Denise Durrett, spoke to SCRN’s Susan Trautch about the program.
Consumer demand, says Durrett, is the measure of success for ENERGY STAR. The number and availability of ENERGY STAR products on the market indicates to Durrett that consumers want energy-efficient products. But in the big picture, how is ENERGY STAR helping? Durrett explains:
There are many things that we do daily that use electricity, and that electricity is created most often by a powerplant somewhere that’s burning coal or some sort of a fossil fuel that is emitting greenhouse gas emissions into the air and those emissions lead to climate change.
ENERGY STAR, says Durrett, brings information to consumers and offers them choices that could help prevent more than 160 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions if every American household’s heating and cooling system operated at top efficiency.With the extreme heat that even South Carolinians are claiming is an anomaly, Durrett offers some low- to no-cost cooling tips to keep bills lower. She says almost 20 percent of the average annual utility bill goes to cooling and about 50 percent goes to heating and cooling.
Programmable thermostats are a common technique to save energy, but Durrett shares how monthly air filter changes can help significantly.
You want to make sure that you’re not running your system with a dirty air filter, because that will actually slow your system’s air flow and it makes your system work harder to keep you cool–which wastes energy and costs you money.
Also, ceiling fans help, but like lights, Durrett says, turn them off when you leave the room.
“I’ll turn the thermostat up a couple of degrees and let the ceiling fan run, and that actually creates a cool breeze effect that keeps us cool while we’re in that room, and you can actually save money on your utility bills that way. But it’s also important to remember to turn those ceiling fans off when you leave a room, because it only cools you; it does not cool the room. So, it’s very similar to turn the lights off when you leave the room–turn that ceiling fan off as well.
Durrett has been working with the federal government for over 20 years. She began working with the EPA in 1994 and has spent the bulk of her time on the ENERGY STAR program.