The Federal Trade Commission today announced the launch of a new section on its Web site that is devoted to providing appliance energy information for consumers, appliance manufacturers and dealers. The site, posted at www.ftc.gov/appliances, was created for the 20th anniversary of the FTC's Appliance Labeling Rule. The Rule requires manufacturers of most major appliances to attach labels that estimate the product's energy consumption or efficiency, and thus, enable consumers to compare appliances. In tandem with the Department of Energy's (DOE) Residential Energy Conservation Standards, the Rule has helped to bring more efficient appliances to the marketplace.
"The big winners are consumers, who have access to more efficient appliances and more information," said Jodie Bernstein, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "The EnergyGuide labels give consumers the ability to make smart choices about which appliances to buy, which in turn can save them money on their utility bills. The labels also give consumers a very measurable way to help protect the environment."
DOE estimates that this year alone, energy efficient appliances will save the amount of electricity produced by 14 large power plants, thereby avoiding the emission of nearly 10 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, the equivalent of more than 7.5 million cars taken off the road for one year. "These energy savings are significant," said Dan W. Reicher, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. "Consumers who buy energy-efficient appliances make an investment in a cleaner environment that really pays off."
In a related effort, the FTC announced the release of a revised publication explaining its Environmental Marketing Guides, commonly referred to as the "Green Guides." The guides were first issued eight years ago to provide businesses with information about making accurate environmental claims about their products. The brochure explaining the Green Guides is posted on the FTC's Web site.
While the Green Guides establish guidelines for making such claims in product promotions as "recycled," "biodegradable," "environmentally safe," or "earth friendly," the yellow-and-black EnergyGuide label requires manufacturers to provide information that allows consumers to compare the energy efficiency of different appliance models. The labels show the highest and lowest energy consumption or efficiency estimates for similar appliance models, based on test procedures established by the DOE.
The new FTC Web site diagrams the EnergyGuide so consumers can better understand how to use the labels to shop for energy-efficient appliances. The site also has information to help dealers comply with the Appliance Labeling Rule. Publications posted on the site include: "Buying a Washing Machine? It's a Load-ed Question;" "Heating and Cooling Your Home;" "How to Buy an Energy-Efficient Home Appliance;" and "Complying With the Appliance Labeling Rule: A Guide for Retailers."
Copies of materials relating to the Commission's Appliance Labeling Rule, as well as "Complying with the Environmental Guides," are available from the FTC's web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357); TDD for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.