Partners in Sustainability: ENERGY STAR
Many of the sustainability challenges that we prioritize at Samsung – whether it be realizing a circular economy or optimizing energy efficiency – are enhanced through partnerships and collaborative initiatives with credible, knowledgeable, and innovative brands, environmental organizations, and industry groups. Together with these like-minded eco-friendly allies, we are putting our scale, global presence, and pioneering spirit to work on building a more sustainable and equitable future. As part of our “Partners in Sustainability” series, Samsung’s esteemed partners are sharing their views on how tackling environmental challenges requires unparalleled cooperation.
|Title||Branch Chief, ENERGY STAR Labeled Products|
|Years working together||26 years (since 1996)|
|Relationship focus||Energy-efficient consumer products|
1. What is the ENERGY STAR program?
ENERGY STAR is the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency, providing simple, credible, and unbiased information that consumers and businesses rely on to make well-informed decisions. Thousands of industrial, commercial, utility, state, and local organizations—including nearly 40% of the Fortune 500®—partner with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to deliver cost-saving energy efficiency solutions that protect the climate while improving air quality and protecting public health. Across more than 75 different product categories, ENERGY STAR is the simple choice for energy efficiency, making it easy for consumers and businesses to purchase products that save them money and protect the environment. For commercial buildings and industrial plants, ENERGY STAR tools and resources help businesses identify cost-effective approaches to managing energy use—enabling the private sector to save energy, increase profits, and strengthen their competitiveness.
2. How does a product earn the ENERGY STAR?
Across more than 75 eligible product categories (ranging from lighting and appliances to HVAC, electronics, IT and commercial food service equipment), products that earn the ENERGY STAR label meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the EPA. The performance of each product model is third-party certified based on testing in an EPA-recognized laboratory.
3. What is the environmental significance of the program?
ENERGY STAR is an important tool in fighting climate change, improving air quality, and protecting public health. In 2020 alone, ENERGY STAR and its partners helped Americans save more than 520 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity and avoid $42 billion in energy costs. These savings resulted in associated emission reductions of more than 400 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, roughly equivalent to more than five percent of U.S. total greenhouse gas emissions.
4. How are you realizing the agency’s environmental mission in partnership with brands like Samsung?
The ENERGY STAR Program was designed to broaden the Agency’s approach to protecting the climate—working hand-in-hand with the private sector and others to achieve more than would be possible through federal regulations alone. By design, the program seeks out and overcomes market barriers and captures and channels marketplace ingenuity towards climate action. Over the past 30 years, the interplay of government, business, and market forces has achieved a level of success that demonstrates the ongoing power of partnership. To date, ENERGY STAR and its partners have helped American families and businesses save 5 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity, avoid more than $500 billion in energy costs, and achieve 4 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas reductions.
Over the years, Samsung has worked with the ENERGY STAR® program and helped address the climate crisis through its leadership in efficiency across its appliance suite, as well as furthering efficiency of its facilities through strategic energy management. Some of Samsung’s recent accomplishments in 2021 through this public-private partnership include:
- Expanding its total ENERGY STAR certified appliance and electronics offerings and increasing the number of models earning ENERGY STAR Most Efficient recognition.
- Earning ENERGY STAR Emerging Technology Award recognition for an additional 20 refrigerator and freezer models with advanced adaptive compressor systems, as well as for one induction cooktop model.
- Working to increase the efficiency of its commercial building spaces by achieving ENERGY STAR Tenant Space recognition for six spaces across its portfolio.
- Establishing a cross-functional team comprised of environmental stewardship, facility management, public affairs, and Engineering and Asset Solutions specialists focused on tracking the efficacy of facility-related sustainability initiatives and alignment and promotion of ENERGY STAR across the organization.
- Continuing its environmental leadership by engaging in multiple, cross-cutting efforts that include partnering with EPA and the National Environmental Education Foundation for 7 years to further environmental literacy and energy efficiency across middle schoolers; participating in the EPA Green Power Partnerships program and achieving 100% renewable energy for all of Samsung’s U.S. facilities; and receiving EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management Gold Tier Champion Award annually for 7 years to ensure electronics are recycled safely.
5. Why does the EPA think collaboration is one of the keys to unlocking solutions to the climate crisis?
America’s private sector is unrivaled in its ability to innovate. As EPA battles the climate crisis, the private sector can—and must—play a significant role. But regulations alone won’t lead to the breadth and scale of innovation, investment, and leadership required. The ENERGY STAR Program has spent almost 30 years creating private sector allies who work alongside EPA to push the envelope, lower costs, generate economic growth, and accelerate the adoption of energy efficient technologies and practices. For more information about EPA’s climate change mission and goals, see Climate Change at EPA.
6. Beyond ENERGY STAR products, what are the key pieces of advice that you’d give to consumers on how to change their household habits and save more energy?
Make energy choices that count to reduce your carbon footprint and embrace the clean energy future. In addition to buying ENERGY STAR certified products to save energy, consider switching to green power, upgrading your home with the latest efficient electric technologies, purchasing an electric vehicle and equipping your home for EV charging. Using electricity generated by renewables such as wind and solar instead of fossil fuels supports a cleaner energy supply and makes a difference in the fight against climate change. Take advantage of opportunities in your community to choose green power as the energy source for your home.
Consumers can also start planning ways to efficiently upgrade their homes with tools like the ENERGY STAR Home Upgrade. This set of six high-impact efficient improvements for your home includes switching to an efficient heat pump for heating and cooling, a heat pump water heater, a smart thermostat, high-performing windows or storm windows, and a well-insulated and sealed attic. Designed to work together to deliver significant energy and cost savings, an ENERGY STAR Home Upgrade will also help you transition from fossil fuels for a cleaner, healthier and more comfortable home. You can choose the improvements that make the most sense for your home and implement them at your own pace.
Lastly, making the transition to an electric vehicle can both save consumers money and benefit the environment. For every mile driven using electricity, you can save half of what it costs to drive a similar gasoline powered vehicle. Additionally, fully electric vehicles produce zero tailpipe emissions and are quieter than gasoline powered vehicles. Switching to an EV can help you significantly decrease the level of toxic chemicals and greenhouse gas emissions from gas cars. These benefits are amplified even more when your home is electric ready and equipped for home charging – which is more convenient and less expensive than public EV charging.
7. Lastly, what are the ways the EPA is working with companies to address energy equity?
As energy costs continue to rise, the energy burden for low-income households also increases. ENERGY STAR and its partners are working to help bring the benefits of energy savings to all Americans by showcasing opportunities for lower-income families to save money. For example, manufacturers like Samsung have been working with ENERGY STAR to build energy efficiency across their entire product portfolio at all price points to make energy savings accessible for all communities.
Additionally, there are several opportunities from ENERGY STAR that American households can take advantage of to make energy efficiency upgrades more accessible and that help families and communities lower energy bills and save money:
- Rebates and Tax Incentives: Through rebates and tax incentives, ENERGY STAR certified products like heat pump water heaters, clean heating and cooling, and household appliances are becoming more affordable while enabling customers to save on their monthly energy bills. ENERGY STAR and its partners are helping all families in the transition to a clean energy future and ENERGY STAR Day is a time to celebrate this progress.
- Support From Local Utilities: Local utilities may offer energy efficiency upgrade support for low-income customers. When available, these programs typically include a home energy assessment accompanied by direct installation of energy saving devices including ENERGY STAR certified smart thermostats. Eligibility is usually based on household size and income in relation to a percentage threshold above the Federal Poverty Level or Area Medium Income (AMI). Depending on where you live, these programs may be working with state agencies who provide low-income services more broadly.
- ENERGY STAR Best Value Finder: The ENERGY STAR Best Value Finder tool helps consumers find ENERGY STAR products at the best price. Consumers can use this tool to find the lowest prices on ENERGY STAR certified room air conditioners, refrigerators, and light bulbs plus utility rebates and other special offers that are now available.