Once something of a much-coveted semi-rarity, EnergyStar branded home appliances and electronics have become increasingly ubiquitous over the past couple of years which isn’t, as the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency found out the hard way, necessarily always a good thing.
So now that a majority of many home appliances and electronics out there proudly sport the EnergyStar label and energy savings, at varying levels, is the norm, how can consumers easily differentiate the good from the great? Which particular products are the most efficient amongst the sea of energy-sipping dishwashers, refrigerators, and flat-screen TVs?
A new, rather unimaginatively named designation from EnergyStar dubbed “Most Efficient” has just been launched to single out the cream of the energy-saving crop — approximately the top 5 percent — in the categories of washing machines, TVs, heating and cooling devices, and soon, refrigerators. Qualifying products must meet rigorous criteria and “demonstrate efficiency performance that is truly exceptional, inspirational, or leading edge.” Later this year, the EPA will start to consider other product categories for inclusion in 2012.
Among the first manufacturers to score Most Efficient recognition are Electrolux, Kenmore, LG, Samsung, Best Buy’s Insignia Brand, Panasonic, Nordyne, and Rheem
Says EPA honcho Lisa P. Jackson in a press release:
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. 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.
I'm glad to see a pilot program like this is up and running; I think it's long overdue. Those of you who have come to doubt EnergyStar relevance: Do you think differentiating the top performers from the middle-of-the-road products with the new Most Efficient designation will give the program a much needed boost of reliability? 

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Home appliances to get new EnergyStar-issued superlative
WIth the new 'Most Efficient' designation, the EPA and DOE single out the creme de la creme of EnergyStar-rated washing machines, refrigerators, televisions and