While you’re shopping for products from appliances to plumbing systems with optimal energy performance — and you are, right? — three rating programs (the Consortium on Energy Efficiency [CEE], Energy Star, and Energy Guide) can help.
Energy Star is the name you likely know, but if truly stellar energy performance revs your motor, go straight to the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE).
What it means: CEE rates appliances, electronics, lighting, HVAC systems, and gas heating systems. At the website, you can download lists of products that meet CEE’s criteria. Do it before you shop because — bummer — CEE doesn’t put a label on compliant products.
CEE ratings are so stringent that the highest-rated Energy Star products are considered the low end of CEE’s roster (and Energy Star isn’t shabby!):
Appliances and HVAC systems are grouped into three tiers, taking both energy performance and water usage (if applicable) into account.
- Tier 1 products meet Energy Star requirements at a minimum.
- Tier 3 products are super-efficient—the cream of the crop.
CEE updates its ratings every month.
Pricing: Often high-efficiency products rated by CEE (and Energy Star) are more expensive than their less-efficient peers, but may cost less to operate annually.