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EPA Says "Put Mother Earth on Your Holiday Gift List"

Release Date: 12/10/1998
Contact Information: David Sternberg (215) 814-5548 & Carol Febbo (215) 814-2076

PHILADELPHIA - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency urges holiday shoppers to look for the Energy Star logo when buying holiday gifts that use electricity. The logo identifies computers, VCRs, TVs, and appliances that help the environment by using less energy.  Energy Star is a federal  program that promotes energy efficient technologies.

"Buying Energy Star products is a great way to put Mother Earth on your gift list. When you give Energy Star products, you help the environment and help the recipients save money on their electric bills all year long," says EPA Regional Administrator W. Michael McCabe.

Saving energy helps the environment because most of the electricity we use is produced by fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas.  When burned, these fuels release air pollutants that cause smog, acid rain and respiratory disease.  Carbon dioxide emissions from energy use accelerate the greenhouse effect which causes global climate change.

Saving just 10,000 kilowatt hours per year prevents 55 pounds of nitrogen oxides, 128 pounds of sulfur dioxide, and 7.5 tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere, reducing smog, acid rain and the impact to climate.  The carbon dioxide reductions are the equivalent of planting two acres of trees.

EPA and the Department of Energy created the Energy Star program to promote the use of energy efficient equipment.  They allow manufacturers whose products meet federal energy efficiency criteria to use the Energy Star label.

When we turn TVs and VCRs off, they continue to use energy for features like remote control and channel memory.  Some energy experts call this waste "leaking electricity".  Energy Star-labeled products help eliminate this waste because they don’t leak electricity.

The amount of energy consumed by home electronics when they are not in use is the equivalent to the annual output of six power plants.  If all Americans purchased only Energy Star- labeled TVs and VCRs, the reduction in air pollution would be the equivalent of taking one million cars off the road.

Energy Star-labeled TVs require three watts or less of power when switched off -- an energy savings of up to 75 percent over conventional models, which consume as much as 12 watts while off.  Energy Star-labeled VCRs require four watts or less of power when switched off -- an energy savings of up to 70 percent over conventional models which consume as much as 13 watts when switched off.

Energy Star-labeled equipment such as computers, monitors, printers and fax machines power down to a "sleep" mode when not in use.  Any action such as the movement of the mouse, a keyboard stroke, an incoming message, fax or print job reactivates the equipment.  Because of the "sleep" mode, Energy Star-labeled equipment uses only about half the electricity as standard equipment, resulting in less pollution, lower electric bills and longer equipment life.
 You can find out more about Energy Star online at or call 1-888-STAR-YES.