market. Policies can help make up for incomplete knowledge by reducing the consumer's cost of acquir 
ing and using needed information. They can also simplify decision making and help consumers focus on
energy and CO
2
issues that may seem small to an individual consumer but are large from a societal
perspective. The ENERGY STAR
program run jointly by EPA and DOE is arguably one of the most
successful energy information programs in operation in the United States.
ENERGY STAR Program. The ENERGY STAR program was introduced by EPA in 1992 to fill the
information gap that hinders market penetration of energy efficient products and practices, and to enable
businesses, organizations and consumers to realize the cost savings and environmental benefits of energy 
efficiency investments. Its market based approach involves four parts: (1) using the ENERGY STAR label
to clearly identify which products, practices, new homes, and buildings are energy efficient; (2) empower 
ing decision makers by making them aware of the benefit of products, homes, and buildings that qualify
for ENERGY STAR by providing energy performance assessment tools and project guidelines for efficiency
improvements; (3) helping retail and service companies in the delivery chain to easily offer energy efficient
products and services; and (4) partnering with other energy efficiency programs to leverage national
resources and maximize impacts.
Since its introduction in 1992 for energy efficient computers, the ENERGY STAR label has been
+
expanded to more than 40 product categories. EPA collaborates with DOE, which now has responsibility
for certain product categories. Efficient new homes became eligible for the label in 1995, and efficient
buildings became eligible for the label in 1999 when EPA unveiled a new standardized approach for
measuring the energy performance of an entire building. 
The ENERGY STAR label has become the national symbol for energy efficiency, recognized by 
56 percent of the American public, according to a recent survey conducted by the Consortium for Energy
Efficiency. In addition, a majority of consumers report that the label has influenced their product
+
choice.
169
Market penetration statistics suggest that considerable progress has been made.
170
The
ENERGY STAR label for superior energy quality has been earned by more than 200,000 new U.S. homes.
The label has been used by over 1,400 manufacturers, covering some 28,000 individual product models
in over 40 different product categories, with in excess of one billion ENERGY STAR qualified products
purchased by Americans to date. ENERGY STAR partners now represent about 18 percent of the market
in new commercial buildings, and over 12 billion square feet of building space. 
52
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Towards a Climate Friendly  
Built Environment
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