Energy Star qualified products, such as washers and dryers, air conditioners, and dishwashers, can help homeowners save hundreds of dollars each year on utility bills. The remodeler who can offer these types of products can take advantage of the opportunity for an upsell, because many homeowners are willing to pay a little more up front in return for long-term savings.
An emerging Energy Star category that can save homeowners on their electricity bills is lighting. Energy Star qualified light fixtures generally use dedicated pin-based fluorescent bulbs rather than screw-based incandescent bulbs and, according to most manufacturers, deliver better color rendering with instant-on activation. Energy Star qualified fixtures must last 10,000 to 20,000 hours and all carry a two-year warranty.
"Generally homeowners will demand or be receptive to better quality lighting when they remodel than when they purchase [a new home], because they better understand -- and are probably addressing -- their lighting and decor needs," says Dave Shiller, Energy Star marketing manager. "This creates a prime opportunity for remodelers to offer an 'advanced' Energy Star lighting and ceiling fan package." Energy Star qualified ceiling fans use more efficient motors.
The Energy Star label has become widely recognized across the nation and can be a powerful selling tool. Many local utilities offer rebates to homeowners who use Energy Star light fixtures, and in some regions, the amount of the rebate is what drives the demand for these fixtures, according to Ron Newbold, commercial product manager for Progress Lighting.
"Residentially, we are finding that consumers are driving the buy," says Ace Rosenstein, vice president of marketing and business development for Sea Gull Lighting. "The benefit to the remodeler is, in some cases, a higher profit margin. These products are, off-the-shelf, a little more expensive." Plus, he says, a remodeler who can offer and install these products can be considered on the cutting edge of energy efficiency.
Homeowners do not have to resort to utilitarian light fixtures to save energy. As the market for Energy Star light fixtures grows, manufacturers are beginning to develop qualified lighting that is not only energy efficient but also offers more design options than some previous fixtures.
"What Sea Gull and others have done is take existing designs and adapted them to meet Energy Star qualifications," Rosenstein says. "But that is going to change." Sea Gull and Progress Lighting will soon release entirely separate Energy Star light fixture lines that are not simply standard fixture designs adapted for energy efficiency. They will be designed from the ground up for Energy Star qualification and will make their own style statement.
Energy Star partners Access Lighting, Brownlee Lighting, and Good Earth Lighting are also currently expanding their product offerings. Kichler and Quoizel are developing higher-end lighting fixtures to meet Energy Star requirements, as well.
Remodelers can visit the "Special Offers" section of the Energy Star Web site at www.energystar.gov to find out about rebates offered in their area.