Energy Star ratings appear on everything from televisions and telephones to refrigerators and laptops.
For many consumers, the savings the ratings provide can be the extra nudge need to bite the bullet and make a purchase, an expert said.
Sara Mattingly, a sales supervisor for Best Buy in Hixson, said she doesn't see a lot of people coming in looking for Energy Star appliances, so she and other employees try to educate them.
"Customers don't realize what they could be saving," she said.
An energy savings calculator developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy shows an Energy Star rated refrigerator can save about $101 over the life of the appliance when compared with a conventional refrigerator.
That savings is well above the initial $30 added to the price of the Energy Star item.
But not all of these appliances are made equally, according to a report by The New York Times. The paper, in an Oct. 18 report, stated that an internal audit conducted by DOE found the agency was not ensuring manufacturers meet Energy Star standards of efficiency.
A written statement from DOE said the Obama administration is still committed to ensuring all Energy Star products provide consumers with significant energy and cost savings, and it has moved forward with steps to streamline and enhance the program.
"The Energy Star program has been very successful in helping consumers easily identify highly efficient appliances and products, saving energy and money while protecting the environment," the statement said.