Energy Star is a joint program launched by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) combined with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). EPA announced the Energy Star Roof Products Program Charter Partner companies in the NRCA Convention conducted in Phoenix, Arizona in 1999. By 2000, nearly 112 roof product manufacturers enrolled in the program.
In this program, the members were permitted to employ the Energy Star label on all their reflective roof products like low slope and steep slope roofs, which satisfied the specifications mentioned by EPA for solar reflectance as well as reliability. The label was specially designed by EPA as well as DOE, in order to facilitate easier identification of energy-efficient products by the consumers. The label is being employed in several other products like household appliances, insulation, office equipment, heating and cooling (HVAC) systems, etc and sometimes even on homes.
EPA estimated that nearly $40 billion dollars were spent every year in US for air conditioning alone. This comprises around one sixth of the total electricity produced in US. Therefore EPA came up with the Energy Star program, which assists in the development of products that can easily lower the amount of air conditioning necessary to cool buildings. This was achieved by the prevention of sun’s heat from entering the buildings.
The products were indeed a success and they helped in slashing the energy bills by nearly 50%. One such product, reflective roofs are able to reduce roof surface temperature by 100ºF, in addition to lowering peak cooling demand by 10-15% thus enabling people to purchase smaller and cheaper HVAC systems. However, the savings are based on many other factors such as climate, insulation types, type of roof installed, etc.
These products, apart from saving energy, can also benefit the environment by lowering the air pollution, since energy is mostly generated in US by burning fossil fuels, in which process air pollutants are released.
Moreover, they facilitate to decrease the heat island effect. This is an event where dark, heat absorbing buildings as well as paved areas increase the temperature of urban areas by eight times compared to surrounding communities.
Lastly, the Energy Star labeled products can also lower smog levels and the related health problems. Therefore EPA strives to provide an increased value to the consumers and also contribute to the environment.