Meet The New EnergyGuide Label

The suspense is over. After two years filled with action-packed consumer research, suspenseful public meetings, and frank discussions with advocacy groups, the Federal Trade Commission is finally ready to tag dehumidifiers, dishwashers, freezers, refrigerators, air conditioners, and washing machines with a new and improved EnergyGuide label.

The new label looks remarkably like the old label, with one major difference: estimated yearly operating costs take center stage, swapping places with estimated yearly electricity use. According to the FTC, that’s not all:

The new EnergyGuide label has a streamlined look and will display estimated yearly operating costs prominently for most appliance types. This estimated cost information, which will appear on the labels in dollars per year, will provide consumers with a clear context to compare the energy efficiency of different appliance models. It also will help consumers assess trade-offs between the energy costs of their appliances and other expenditures. The new EnergyGuide label design will continue to display energy consumption information (e.g., annual electricity use) as a secondary disclosure for most labeled products.

Ok, maybe that is all. The redesigned label should hit store shelves in about six months, ready to beckon consumers towards the most energy-efficient appliances.

Concluding Two-Year Rulemaking, FTC Announces New EnergyGuide Label [FTC via Consumer Reports]


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  1. Shadowfire says:

    So, what is the trick to using these? I mean, with cars, the estimated MPG is based on a speed of 56MPH.

    I only ask because my A/C unit says that it has an estimated yearly cost of $99, but it boosts my power bill by about $40/month…

  2. tvh2k says:

    Two years for that?!? They just switched the place of two text labels! Ridiculous.

  3. mantari says:

    Meet the New EnergyGuide Label! Same as the old. Except, with bolder fonts.

  4. mrmysterious says:

    It’s good that they spent all that time and probably lots of money on this….because the old label was so difficult to understand [/sarcasm].

  5. scudsone says:

    If you look closely at the fine print on the bottom of these signs you’ll see that the “estimated yearly operating costs” numbers are unrealistic. Maybe its just ConEd that likes to ream NYers with super high rates when they’re not busy blowing up Lexington avenue, or electrocuting dogs, or leaving minority neighborhoods without power for days at a time, but I’m charged almost twice the 10.65 cents/kwh that the energy guide bases its figure on. I guess this is like the way a bag of chips lists the serving size as 3 chips.

  6. supra606 says:

    That’s wonderful. I wonder how much of our tax money went to pay for this sheer brilliance…

  7. SOhp101 says:

    Like EPA MPG estimates, they should be taken with a grain of salt and used only for comparison purposes. Doesn’t look very different from the old one. “new,” indeed.

  8. Rudko says:

    The part that makes no sense to me is that energy costs change over time.

    So when I look at my 5 year old hotwater heater and it says it costs $67.00 a year to run and my potential new hot water heater costs $87.00 per year to run it would seem like my old one was better, when in fact the new one could use much less energy, but that energy just costs more now.

    If they had used units of energy consumed by the device you could compare across time and not have to worry about inflation.

  9. Rudko says:

    Bah, looking at the label more closely I see they do have the units of energy used so I guess my last comment is moot. Apologies for the wasted bandwidth.

  10. beyond says:

    I prefer the old one. The important information is the estimated kwh usage. With my electricity rate this unit would cost $88/yr.

  11. forever_knight says:

    progress but only a tiny bit. these labels need to do MORE. what is missing is a clear way to see the rank of this unit to help out joe idiot and his empty headed bride.

    it needs to be color coded: the most energy efficient appliances (say, top 25%) get a bright green color. the middle 50% gets a bright orange color (should be yellow but the stupid label is yellow already). the crappiest 25% of all should be labeled bright red. that way, you can more easily compare two models in the store.

    the percentages can even be adjusted depending on needs. say every few years, the top tier (green) and middle (yellow) category is made more exclusive.

  12. bringafajita says:

    Agreed, the price per year is a little too optimistic for my area as well.

  13. forever_knight says:

    how the hell do you show a picture within a post?? i just spent 10 minutes searching this site and there’s nothing. i want to show how color indicators are faster and clearer to the average person.

  14. Anitra says:

    @forever_knight: Color coding sounds like a great idea. My husband and I just bought a new clothes washer & dryer, and the yellow tags (when they were even on the appliance) didn’t help much. “OK, this one uses 678 kWh, what was that other one again? 600-something? argh.”

    There was one appliance where the kWh listed was lower than the lowest end of the range for “similar” products. How the heck does that work out?

  15. forever_knight says:

    let’s see if this works. click on link for how a color coded example would compare to the new and improved version:
    color coded example

  16. mantari says:

    @forever_knight: Your color coded example is not accessable to the colorblind. FAIL!


  17. forever_knight says:

    @mantari: hmmm…to solve this serious dilemma, the color names could be added to the boxes. so RED along with a red box = bad choice consumer. or you can read any of the existing info — the scale, kw, or energy cost. color code is just an additional tool for the non-freak population…er…i mean non-color blind population. :)

  18. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    Probably several billion $ direct to Halliburton, which means Cheney got most of it!

  19. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Unreadable fine print on the label: “Yearly operating cost does not include electricity usage.”

  20. synergy says:

    I think the energy usage is more important for the reason already mentioned: energy costs fluctuate from year to year.