Thousands of businesses, groups lobby for defense of EPA Energy Star program

Dive Brief:

  • More than 1,000 businesses and organizations have signed a letter urging Congress to defend and strengthen the Energy Star labeling initiative for efficient appliances that is maintained through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • The group, organized by the Alliance to Save Energy, says the program saves consumers more than $34 billion per year in reduced energy costs.
  • President Trump's proposed budget eliminates funding for Energy Star, a voluntary program with an annual budget of about $50 million.The EPA  budget overall would be cut 31% under the proposal.

Dive Insight:

Energy Star is a curious victim of the Trump administration's slash-and-burn approach to the EPA: It's a voluntary program with bipartisan support and a small budget, and pretty much everyone agrees it works.

Why kill it? CNN has a possible answer: Trump properties score poorly in Energy Star ratings. The news organization said scores from 2015 show 11 of 15 Trump properties in major cities are less efficient than comparable buildings.

The Trump condominiums at 610 Park Avenue in Manhattan rate a 1, the lowest possible Energy Star rating, CNN said.

Now, more than 1,000 businesses and organizations, including national and regional chains, universities, and Habitat for Humanity, are urging lawmakers to fight for the program, calling it "a model for successful collaboration between the public and private sectors."

Energy Star "enjoys a long track record of success and should be strengthened, not weakened, to ensure it continues providing these important benefits to the public while helping us meet our energy and environmental goals," the letter from the coalition says.

“Shutting down this program would hurt American businesses, consumers and our overall economy, and we strongly encourage the administration to reconsider the budget proposal,” Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance to Save Energy, said in a statement.

Among companies signing onto the letter are United Technologies Corp., parent company of Carrier and other brands, Seattle City Light, and A.O. Smith, the largest manufacturer of residential and commercial water heaters in North America.

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Filed Under: Efficiency & Demand Response Regulation & Policy