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Analysis & Projections

Determinants of Household Use of Selected Energy Star Appliances

Release date: May 25, 2016


According to the 2009 Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS), household appliances1accounted for 35% of U.S. household energy consumption, up from 24% in 1993. Thus, improvements in the energy performance of residential appliances as well as increases in the use of more efficient appliances can be effective in reducing household energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

In 1992, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy established the ENERGY STAR® voluntary labeling program to promote energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Usually ENERGY STAR appliances use 20% to 30% less energy than required by federal standards in place at the time of purchase (Tugend 2008). Computers and monitors were the first products with the ENERGY STAR labels. In 1997, the program expanded to include other appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashers, and clothes washers. Currently the ENERGY STAR label covers major appliances, lighting, home electronics, office equipment, and new buildings (U.S. EPA 2014).

The main objective of this paper is to test a series of hypotheses regarding the influences of household characteristics (such as education, age, sex, race, income, and size of household), building characteristics (such as age, ownership, and type), and electricity prices on the use of ENERGY STAR appliances. First, the paper provides a brief description of the data and an overview of the model specification and estimation method. Second, the paper examines factors influencing a household's decision to adopt ENERGY STAR for selected appliances and presents conclusions.


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1Appliances exclude space heating, space cooling, and water heating units, but include computers, household electronics, and all other appliances.