Back to School with ENERGY STAR



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Back to School with ENERGY STAR

That's right, it's time for school already and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has some back-to-school, energy-saving tips to help you or your family prepare for the school year—from elementary all the way up to college. Even if your school days are behind you, there's lots here you can apply in your own home. So take a peek and get ready to go back to school with ENERGY STAR.

Green Your Dorm Room with ENERGY STAR

While outfitting you or your kid's dorm room this fall, where you can, remember to choose environmentally friendly products. One way to do this is by looking for the ENERGY STAR. Products that have earned the ENERGY STAR meet strict energy efficiency requirements set by the EPA, so they use less energy, save money, and help protect the climate. From laptops and printers for your schoolwork, to TVs and mini fridges for your study breaks, ENERGY STAR qualified products make it easy for you to make a difference. Here are a few tips to help you shop "green" for back to school:

ENERGY STAR Qualified Lighting: If a table lamp is part of your dorm decor, make sure it's ENERGY STAR qualified. Also look for ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs or LEDs, which use 75 percent less energy than regular incandescent light bulbs.

ENERGY STAR Qualified Computers: A high-performing computer is a must for school. With ENERGY STAR, you'll know you're getting a computer that is good for the environment and comparable in performance. Whether you choose a desktop or laptop, a computer that has earned the ENERGY STAR uses up to 65 percent less energy than non-qualified computers. And don't forget to look for the ENERGY STAR if you're in the market for other office products, as well.

ENERGY STAR Qualified Mini Fridges: How cool is it to keep food and drinks in an ENERGY STAR, energy-saving mini fridge? You get easy access to the "energy" you need while using less of it in the process. ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerators use 20 percent less energy than non-qualified refrigerators, so you can enjoy your break while making a difference.

ENERGY STAR Qualified Electronics: No dorm room is complete without an ENERGY STAR qualified entertainment system, right? With all that work, everyone needs some time to decompress. With ENERGY STAR qualified TVs, DVD and Blu-Ray players, and speakers, you can really relax—not only from your work, but also knowing that your electronics are using less energy. ENERGY STAR specifications for electronics are more efficient both when in stand-by mode and when in active mode, and use the latest and greatest technology. Plus, you'll feel good about helping the environment.

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Other Green, Energy-Saving Tips for College

Did you know that the buildings where we work, play, and learn are responsible for nearly 20 percent of both the nation's energy use and greenhouse gas emissions? That includes college buildings and dorm rooms, so make a change today to help cut down on this energy use by following one of the easy tips below! And, be sure to check out the ENERGY STAR Check-up Guide on for more information.

  • Power Down: Make sure that you enable the power management features on your computer and monitor so they go to sleep (switch to a low power mode) when not in use. Here's another bonus tip: Set your printer to print double-sided and cut paper waste in half while also saving money!
  • Unplug It: Did you know that your office equipment and electronics are still drawing energy from an electrical outlet even when not plugged in? To avoid wasting energy, remember to unplug your chargers after your electronics are all charged up.
  • Turn off the Lights: Remember to turn off your lights when leaving the room or other common areas. Duh, right?
  • Use a Power Strip: It's a myth that keeping your electronics on is better for them. It's infinitely better—both for your equipment and for the environment—to turn your electronics off, especially when you are not going to use it for a while, like at night. Plugging everything into a power strip makes this easier by creating a central "turn-off" point.
  • Fill ‘er Up and Save: Did you know that running full loads of laundry instead of partial loads can save up to 3,400 gallons of water a year and save energy at the same time? Also, be sure to wash with cold water whenever possible.
  • Work from the Outside In: Check for air leaks around doors and windows and suggest that someone help seal leaks with weather stripping. Plus, keep doors and windows closed when the AC or heat is on!
  • Shared savings: We all know that, collectively, our individual changes make a big difference. Share your savings story and get your friends to share theirs to see how it all adds up. You can also hang signs or posters in your dorm building with tips for saving energy to encourage your friends to make a change!

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Back-to-School Shopping? Shoot for the Stars!

When you do your back-to-school shopping—whether it's for products that have earned the ENERGY STAR or the typical supplies like pencils and notebooks—make sure you're shopping at retailers that care about the environment. Some of the top retailers in the country partner with EPA either to make their buildings super energy efficient or to help educate customers about ENERGY STAR qualified products.

Click here for a list of retailers that are doing good things for the environment by joining EPA to protect the climate either by making their stores energy efficient or participating in our Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR campaign.

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Go Green Nights Available for the 2011-2012 School Year

For the third school year in a row, EPA is teaming up with PTO Today to sponsor Go Green Nights in K-8 schools across the country. Since the partnership began in 2009, Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) leaders from more than 9,500 schools have held Go Green Nights full of fun, educational activities for kids and their families to teach them how to make a difference for the environment. For the 2011-2012 school year, EPA and PTO Today have another fun-filled year planned. If you are part of a school, visit to order your kit or let your child's school know about this great opportunity to organize a Go Green Night!

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"Do Something" to Make a Difference

EPA and Do, a teen action outreach organization, joined together to launch a fun, environmentally-focused online Facebook game called eMission. This popular game, with more than 47,000 players since the fall 2010 launch, provides teens and Facebook users the chance to protect their own habitat by taking action around energy efficiency and climate change, both online and off. Click here to start playing today! Or, for more information, contact

Also in partnership with Do Something, EPA is encouraging teens to shed their unwanted electronics by participating in the E-Waste Drive campaign. From August 15 through October 1, teens can drop off their unwanted electronics at their local Best Buy, instead of dumping it in landfills. Are you a teen (or do you know a teen) who is passionate about the environment and recycling? Tell them to get involved and say goodbye to those extra unwanted laptops, cell phones, chargers, DVDs, and CDs. For more information, check out

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Don't forget to check out other cool stuff with our campaign!    
There's only a short time left to get your videos in for the "Be an ENERGY STAR Video Challenge". Voting for the winners starts September 16th, so get out there and have some fun and show the world how you can be an ENERGY STAR! You can also see what fun ENERGY STAR events are happening in your area with the ENERGY STARs Across America map.

And, of course, don't forget to take the pledge. Even if you have taken it already, take it again now to include your latest energy-efficient changes! And, forward this e-mail on to your colleagues, friends, and family so they can do the same.

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ENERGY STAR, a program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, helps us all save money and fight climate change through energy-efficient products and practices. Learn more. Visit


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