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The House Appropriations Committee has voted not to eliminate the Energy Star program. The committee included money for Energy Star in the fiscal 2018 federal budget, but voted to cut funding for the program by 40 percent, according to the Alliance to Save Energy. The Trump administration had proposed eliminating the Energy Star program. The House appropriations measure is an early step in the lengthy process of approving a final Energy Star appropriation as part of the 2018 federal budget.
Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance to Save Energy, called the 40 percent cut “crippling.” The Alliance says that commercial, industrial, and residential buildings have saved $13 billion thanks to Energy Star. In total, Energy Star produced savings of $34 billion in 2015 alone, said the Alliance.
In its report, the Appropriations Committee said that it “continues to support the Energy Star program” but that “program adjustments or reforms may be warranted.” The report cited the use of outside vendors for product reviews as a justification for the cuts.
Alliance spokesman Ben Somberg disputed that justification. “The rationale in the committee report for cutting this budget is flawed. The EPA has never done the certification work for Energy Star products. When they added third-party certification several years ago to better ensure compliance, it actually increased the agency's workload in terms of managing and overseeing the certifications. So the notion that Congress can simply chop funding for Energy Star because it moved to third-party testing in 2011 just doesn’t add up.”
Somber called Energy Star “one of the most successful public-private partnerships in U.S. history,” adding that “Consumers trust the label, and we need EPA to be able to maintain the integrity of the program. Cutting the budget of the program would threaten that consumer trust.”
This Quick Read was submitted by Edward Sullivan, editor of Building Operating Management magazine, firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to for tips on how facility managers can use Energy Star on Facilitiesnet.com.