ENERGY STAR is becoming a well-known symbol for energy-efficient appliances. While you probably are familiar with the symbol, you may not know ENERGY STAR is a government program that was started to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The result has been a well-trusted, easily identifiable system to help consumers choose the most energy-efficient appliances for their homes. ENERGY STAR appliances earn the label by meeting a certain list of criteria set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These appliances offer significant energy and water savings (usually 10 to 50 percent) without compromising performance [source: Archer].
ENERGY STAR appliances are often priced comparably to other less efficient products. One of the criteria for receiving the ENERGY STAR label involves pricing. If the ENERGY STAR product is more expensive upfront than a standard product offering the same features, the ENERGY STAR rating is only awarded if a consumer would make up the extra cost in their energy or water bill savings "within a reasonable period of time" [source: ENERGY STAR].