The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created the Energy Star program in the early 1990s in an attempt to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission by power plants. Among other things the EPA uses its Energy Star Logo to let consumers know which devices are more energy efficient. Devices (and appliances) carrying the Energy Star logo generally use 20%-30% less energy than required by federal standards.
For those of us interested specifically in the lighting industry, the Energy Star qualification is awarded to only those light bulbs and products that meet strict efficiency, quality, and lifetime criteria. For example, Energy Star qualified fluorescent lighting uses 75% less energy and lasts up to ten times longer than normal incandescent lights. Most fluorescent products meet the requirements but must go through EPA testing to carry the label.
Most LED products also meet Energy Star guidelines. In order to qualify for Energy Star certification, LED lighting products must pass a variety of tests to prove that the products will display the following characteristics: A) Brightness is equal to or greater than existing lighting technologies (incandescent or fluorescent) and light is well distributed over the area lighted by the fixture.
B) Light output remains constant over time, only decreasing towards the end of the rated lifetime (at least - Excellent color quality. The shade of white light appears clear and consistent over time.
C) Efficiency is as good as or better than fluorescent lighting.
D) Light comes on instantly when turned on.
E) No flicker when dimmed.
F) -No off-state power draws. The fixture does not use power when it is turned off, with the exception of external controls, whose power should not exceed 0.5 watts in the off state.