Why does it seem like the path of least resistance always leads to a dead end? From eating unhealthy foods to falling for get-rich-quick schemes, it’s human nature to choose the easy, well-worn path over and over—even when it’s bad for us. That’s why part of a government’s job to “promote the general welfare” is to try to make it easier for us to do the right thing. And doing the right thing is what ENERGY STAR® is all about.
The ENERGY STAR program began as a way to ensure that computers were more energy efficient, and now encompasses more than 50 product categories, including everything from toasters and ceiling fans to ChargePoint® EV charging solutions—currently the only such devices in their class. That’s a big deal, because consumers and businesses rely on the easily-recognizable ENERGY STAR logo to be sure they’re making the most environmentally-friendly purchases possible, and ChargePoint is paving the way for this to become an industry-standard for charging stations.
The ENERGY STAR process
To be considered for ENERGY STAR certification, a product must go through a multi-step specification process, which includes market and engineering analyses, the development and validation of testing methods, stakeholder feedback and certification. Once a specification is established, testing can take place. Today, ENERGY STAR’s performance-based testing is conducted by 23 independent certification bodies across 600 labs. Testing methods must be fair and repeatable and, depending whether or not the products are subject to federal minimum efficiency standards, will fall under the scope of either EPA or U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) testing procedures. All ENERGY STAR certified products must also meet electrical safety requirements, which is a feature that not all EV charging stations on the market currently meet.
"Since the program’s inception, ENERGY STAR has avoided 3.5 trillion kWh of electricity production, resulting in $450 billion in savings for U.S. consumers and businesses."
Why efficiency matters
Why go through all that trouble to become ENERGY STAR certified? Brand recognition is one big reason. A 2016 Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) survey found that 91% of U.S. households recognize the ENERGY STAR label, with three quarters indicating a “high understanding” of its relationship to energy efficiency and cost savings. That’s also why more than 40% of businesses in the Fortune 500® partner with ENERGY STAR to deliver environmentally-friendly products. In other words, ENERGY STAR makes it easy for people and businesses to do the right thing.
Doing the right thing by the numbers
In 2016, ENERGY STAR helped consumers save $30 billion in energy costs and nearly 400 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity. Those are massive numbers that just keep adding up over time. Since the program’s inception, ENERGY STAR has avoided 3.5 trillion kWh of electricity production, resulting in $450 billion in savings for U.S. consumers and businesses. In that same time, it has reduced GHG emissions by 320 million metric tons—all through voluntary action. Today, more than 700 utilities, state and local governments and nonprofits rely on ENERGY STAR for their efficiency programs, which reach nearly 95% of all U.S. households.
ENERGY STAR and ChargePoint: a match made in EV heaven
ENERGY STAR is already one of the federal government’s most successful programs ever, so imagine what can happen when a whole new category of environmentally-conscious consumers gets on board. Enter EV drivers. ChargePoint was a leader in the efforts to develop ENERGY STAR certification for EV chargers and was instrumental in developing ENERGY STAR’s EV testing specifications. Today, ChargePoint’s residential and commercial EV charging solutions, including ChargePoint Home, CT4000 and CPF25, are the only ENERGY STAR certified EV charging stations on the market. Combined with their UL listing, ChargePoint’s solutions are among the safest chargers on the market as well. With new government programs such as the Fresno County Incentive Project (FCIP) mandating ENERGY STAR certification, expect more electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) manufacturers to introduce compliant charging stations over time.
What that means for drivers
Reducing their carbon footprint and saving on fuel costs and are two main reasons people choose to drive electric. ChargePoint’s ENERGY STAR certified solutions conserve power when they’re not charging and charge efficiently when they are. In standby mode, that equates to 40% more efficiency than the standard EV charger. Testing found that the chargers draw very little energy when not in use. The EPA estimates that if all Level 1 and Level 2 EV charging stations sold in the United States met ENERGY STAR requirements, the savings in energy costs over the lifetime of those products would grow to more than $17 million. They would also avoid more than 280 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, which is the equivalent of emissions from more than 2,600 gas-powered vehicles.
What that means for business
Today, companies invest in charging solutions for a number of reasons. Some do it because it’s good for business, while others may green their fleets to meet sustainability goals. Increasingly, businesses are also offering EV charging as an amenity for their employees and customers. ENERGY STAR’s program for commercial buildings has helped save organizations $150 billion in energy costs since it began in 1992—including almost $10 billion in 2016 alone (the last year for which numbers are available). Those savings go right back into a company’s ability to achieve its business goals. With ENERGY STAR certified charging, businesses are not only increasing those savings, they’re positioning themselves as leaders in the e-mobility revolution.
"ENERGY STAR is the holy grail of public-private partnerships. By incentivizing businesses to offer energy efficient products, it is achieving extraordinary successes in GHG reduction, power usage and cost savings."
ENERGY STAR is the holy grail of public-private partnerships. By incentivizing businesses to offer energy efficient products, it is achieving extraordinary successes in GHG reduction, power usage and cost savings. It has also accomplished the seemingly impossible—it has inspired people to do the right thing by making it the easy thing to do. With ChargePoint’s ENERGY STAR-certified solutions, it could be said that the path of least resistance is fast becoming an EV-filled superhighway on the way to sustainability. If someone could only develop a diet or get-rich-quick scheme that worked so well.