Residential Lighting: Tell us about the new Energy Star® requirements that recently went into effect.
Kristinn Leonhart: In 20 years, with help from Energy Star partners, American families and businesses have saved $230 billion on utility bills and prevented over 1.7 billion metric tons of carbon pollution. The Energy Star label has grown to be a valuable asset for consumers and the manufacturers who earn it. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is committed to maintaining consumer confidence in the label and preserving that value.
Effective Jan. 1, 2011, all new product models must be certified by accredited laboratories prior to being labeled with the Energy Star. Previously, only lighting products were subject to third-party testing. Third-party testing further strengthens the integrity of the Energy Star program by providing consumers the confidence that products perform as advertised.
RL: A recent survey found fewer manufacturers planned to submit products for testing. Is that true?
KL: This is to be expected — the luminaires spec requires lighting products to be more energy-efficient than ever to earn the Energy Star label.
RL: How would you describe Energy Star awareness among consumers?
KL: Brand awareness is at an all-time high. According to a 2011 Consortium for Energy Efficiency survey, 84 percent of American households now recognize the Energy Star label. More than 40 percent knowingly purchased an Energy Star-labeled product in the past year. Of these purchasers, 75 percent report the label as influential in their purchasing decision. Nearly 80 percent report they are likely to recommend products that have earned the Energy Star label to friends, and 32 percent of these households reported they were “extremely” likely to recommend Energy Star products.
RL: How will you grow the brand?
KL: EPA’s consumer education focus has shifted toward encouraging Americans to adopt more energy-efficient practices. As a recognized and trusted symbol for energy efficiency, Energy Star is the ideal platform for this kind of consumer engagement.
The “Change the World, Start with Energy Star” campaign invites all Americans to be part of the growing movement to protect our climate through energy efficiency. We encourage Americans to learn more about what they can do to save energy and why it’s important to take the Energy Star pledge.
EPA has experienced a tremendous response to the “Energy Stars Across America” event series. This allows our partners to create their own energy-efficiency events and include them under the umbrella of EPA’s campaign. In its first year, 70 partners participated, hosting over 800 events, from in-store CFL giveaways to flash mobs.
RL: How would you describe Energy Star’s relevance to lighting now?
KL: Energy Star bulbs come in all shapes and sizes, and the number of luminaires obtaining Energy Star certification continues to grow. Nearly 5,000 have been certified from October 2011 to June 2012. The same is true for Energy Star-certified LEDs. As of June 28, more than 920 LED light bulbs have earned the Energy Star,
500 more than last year.
RL: What plans do you have for the lighting category?
KL: The lighting program’s top priority for the coming months is finalizing an Energy Star lamp specification that will include updated specifications for CFL and LED lighting.