Is ENERGY STAR on the Chopping Block?

March 21, 2017

The 25-year-old federal initiative that has promoted energy efficiency nationwide by saving $362 billion in utility bills, looks to be the next victim of  the Trump Administration. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Program, a 25-year-old federal initiative that has promoted energy efficiency nationwide is targeted for elimination under the preliminary “America First” budget plan delivered to Congress by President Donald Trump last week, Digital Trends reported on March 16.

Since 1992, products in more than 70 categories – laptops, TVs, washing machines, refrigerators, air conditioners – have earned the Energy Star label, according to the EPA.

The agency also states that the program has achieved 85 percent public aware as a symbol of energy efficiency, has saved $362 billion in utility bills and has reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2.5 billion KWh.

It’s a really simple, effective program,” says Noah Horowitz, director and senior scientist at the National Resource Defense Council’s Center for Energy Efficiency, Energy, and Transportation Program, told Digital Trends. “There’s a lot of brand recognition, and all the manufacturers, retailers, and utilities have bought into it,” said Horowitz. “It’s delivered massive results.”

In addition, the voluntary program provides rebates that encourage purchases of energy-efficient products. Buying an ENERGY STAR rated appliance provides a consumer with a substantial rebate, although the amount varies based on a where a buyer lives, the news outlet said.

Utilities have invested heavily in incentives for the program, putting up over $5 billion in 2016, alone, according to Horowitz. “If the whole program and its infrastructure goes away, I’m not sure the utilities are able to continue to offer those rebates, and without those rebates, a lot of the manufacturers lose the incentive to make their products as efficient as they are today,” he says.

The ultimate fate of ENERGY STAR is still left to be determined. Some say it could be privatized or become a part of the Department of Energy.

“We are not commenting at this early stage in the process,” Julia Valentine, an EPA spokesperson, told Digital Trends.

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