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ENERGY STAR® qualified appliances are nothing new; actually they've been around since the mid 90's. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy got together to create a program to help protect the environment while saving us money and boom, ENERGY STAR was born! So, what do we really know about ENERGY STAR?

ENERGY STAR qualified appliances integrate advanced technology using up to 50% less energy and water than standard models. According to www.energystar.gov, the typical household spends more than $2,000 a year on energy bills, but change to appliances that have earned the ENERGY STAR, and you can save $75 a year in energy costs, while saving the environment.

Cash for Appliances is a rebate program made available from the Department of Energy (DOE) for those that purchase of high-efficiency household appliances, furnaces and air-conditioning systems. The DOE is offering nearly $300 million in rebates for this program that resembles that of the "cash for clunkers" as part of the federal economic-stimulus bill. Be sure to check with your local utility company for rebate information or you can visit the ENERGY STAR website for a full list of the states and territories with approved appliance rebate programs. For more details about an individual state or territory program, you can click on the state's web site or call the contact number listed. The ENERGY STAR website also has a great tool called the "rebate finder" to help you find money-saving discounts by zip code.