The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently outlined a series of steps to further strengthen the trusted Energy Star program. In addition to third-party testing already underway, EPA and DOE have launched a new two-step process to expand testing of Energy Star-qualified products. DOE began testing of some of the most commonly used appliances, which account for more than 25% of a household’s energy bill, and both agencies are now developing a system to test all products that earn the Energy Star label. The steps are part of an overall effort by the Obama Administration to improve the energy efficiency of homes and appliances to save families money.

"Energy efficiency is more important than ever to American families, " says Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation. "As our economy gets back on its feet, Energy Star is an easy way for consumers to save money and help fight climate change. "

"Consumers have long trusted the Energy Star brand for products that will save them energy and save them money, " saysCathy Zoi, DOE assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy. "The steps we’re taking now will further strengthen and improve the program, building on the results that consumers have come to expect. "

For more on the changes to Energy Star, read the full news release on the EPA Web site.