In 1976, the California Energy Commission adopted its first energy efficiency standards for appliances sold in the state. As the ninth largest economy in the world, California is a major consumer market; as a result, its appliance standards influenced the efficiency of products made around the world. Ultimately California's rules led to federal standards for energy use in many appliances.

As a result of appliance standards, many of today's household appliances use much less energy than comparable models did a few years ago. Refrigerators offer the perfect example. Today's modern designs can consume just one-quarter of the electricity that a similar-sized refrigerator would have used 20 years ago.

Visit some of the sections listed on the left for information about purchasing the most energy efficient appliance.