Look here for products tops in energy efficiency

This is Energy Star Plus. Energy Star to the Max.

The federal program that comes up with efficiency standards for various products, and then has a logo and a website to tell consumers which products meet them, has gone one step further.

The Energy Star program now has a "Most Efficient" initiative that recognizes products with the highest efficiencies.  So if energy efficiency is a shopper's ultimate goal, the program will steer him or her to the right products.  It's likely they won't be the cheapest to buy. But they'll be cutting edge. And they'll save a consumer on electricity costs.

The products that get the recognition will represent the top five percent of models on the market. The first categories in the program are clothes washers, heating and cooling equipment, televisions, and refrigerator-freezers. Other products will likely join the line-up in 2012.

Looking at the clothes washers, the new "most efficient" ones -- 15 models are listed - are all front-loaders that cost anywhere from $649 to nearly $2,000. But they use less than 100 kilowatt hours a year. The brands include Frigidaire, Crosley, Kenmore, LG, Electrolux and Samsung.

The EPA and the Department of Energy, which share responsibility for the Energy Star program, recently announced that refrigerator standards have saved consumers billions of dollars. Today, refrigerators use 25 percent of the energy that fridges in 1975 used, even as the appliances have gotten bigger and sprouted more features. 

"This new designation will help Americans save money and cut pollution by quickly pointing them to the best Energy Star products have to offer. Highlighting Energy Star's Most Efficient products is a great way to encourage the strides in innovation that bring even more energy and money saving choices to our stores," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson in a press release. "We know American consumers are eager to make purchases that save them money on their utility bills and reduce the pollution in the air we breathe, and these labels will help them identify the best ways to find those purchases."

So as for why politicians still oppose the new light bulb standards, go figure.