WASHINGTON - With the launch of the Energy Star "Cool Change" campaign this summer, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is encouraging Americans to save energy, money, and protect the environment by increasing the efficiency of home cooling systems. To improve cooling system efficiency, EPA is offering homeowners such tips as performing annual tune-ups as well as installing new Energy Star-qualified central air conditioners.

According to the EPA, the average family spends $1,400 a year on energy bills, nearly half of which goes to heating and cooling. Homeowners who choose energy-efficient heating and cooling equipment that is properly sized and installed can save as much as 20 percent on their annual energy costs. Energy Star products use less energy, which also means less air pollution and a cleaner environment.

The "Cool Change" campaign provides recommendations including checking and sealing duct systems; replacing air filters; and sealing homes to keep excess air from escaping through leaky attics, doors, and windows.

For a copy of EPA's A Guide to Energy-Efficient Cooling and Heating and more information about home cooling system efficiency improvements, visit www.energystar.gov/hvacguide.

Publication date: 06/21/2004