ENERGY STAR® Market Transformation

Helping EPA grow national consumer awareness of ENERGY STAR to over 90%


For over a decade, Cadmus has been the prime contractor to provide communications support for EPA’s ENERGY STAR® program—a notable example of a successful market transformation initiative. When we first began working with the program in 2000, our first challenge was to develop a long-term strategic communications plan to build awareness beyond its 40 percent recognition level, with the audacious goal of increasing awareness to the level of the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.


An early Cadmus recommendation was to encourage consumers to switch from incandescent light bulbs to ENERGY STAR® compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) as a first step toward motivating consumers to make energy efficiency part of their lifestyle. As a result, EPA’s Change a Light, Change the World Campaign launched in 2001. By leveraging EPA’s extensive network of utilities, manufacturers, retailers, and non-profits partners as an important part of the national public relations and outreach effort, this allowed the Campaign to have significant national impact over its lifetime. In fact, the market share for CFLs rose from four to 20 percent over the life of the six-year Campaign. One of the most successful Campaign efforts was a 20-day, 16-city national bus tour that started at California’s Disneyland and culminated in a media event on NBC’s Today Show in New York City.

Based on the success of the Change a Light campaign, in 2008, Cadmus recommended that EPA expand the Campaign to include a broader array of ENERGY STAR® products and energy-efficient practices. This more expansive outreach effort, the Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR® Campaign, continues through today with an integrated mix of strategies, including innovative public relations and social media outreach, nationally targeted public service announcements, partner campaign toolkit materials, and community-based and youth partnerships. Even the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and organizations that reach parent teacher organizations are currently involved.

illustration of home with ENERGY STAR tips


Cadmus continues to plan and implement notable, strategic campaigns and has garnered significant and measurable results for EPA: in 2010 the recognition level is more than double the number it was in 2000. In 2011 alone, the ENERGY STAR® Campaign was responsible for energy savings of 270 billion kilowatt-hours, prevention of 210 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, and more than $23 billion in energy cost savings. Overall, since 2000, more than four billion ENERGY STAR® products have been purchased. According to recent research, ENERGY STAR® is the second most recognized label among the Top Ten U.S. Green Labels (after the recycling symbol) and influences behavior of over 90 percent of U.S. consumers—equal to the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.