WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Energy Star program is offering new tools and tips for homeowners and businesses to help them save money, be comfortable, and protect the environment. According to EPA, in 2005 alone, Americans, with the help of Energy Star, saved $12 billion in energy costs and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 23 million vehicles.

"Energy efficient products with the blue Energy Star label are helping meet President Bush's priority of improving the nation's environmental and energy security," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. "By preserving our resources and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, America's families can make sure skyrocketing temperatures don't have to lead to skyrocketing energy bills."

The average family spends $1,900 a year on energy bills, says EPA, nearly half of which goes to heating and cooling. EPA's new interactive tool, Energy Star @ Home, shows consumers how they can make energy-efficient improvements in each room of their home. Homeowners can see where they're doing well, find areas for improvement, and learn how they can use energy more efficiently in order to save money and enjoy year-round comfort in their home.

EPA also offers advice for businesses to save energy and money this summer. Cooling and ventilating use almost 20 percent of the energy in commercial buildings, says the agency. EPA's Energy Star Challenge encourages businesses and other organizations to improve their energy efficiency by 10 percent or more by following five energy-saving steps. These steps help put a business on the path to significant savings, while also helping to protect the environment.

For tips on making a home more energy efficient, visit www.energystar.gov/home.

For tips on lowering a company's energy bills, visit www.energystar.gov/challenge.

Publication date: 06/05/2006