When the Trump Administration published its proposed budget in March, most government programs aimed at investing in energy efficiency were on the chopping block, including one of the most successful public-private collaborations of all time: the Energy Star program created under George H.W. Bush and managed by the Department of Energy.
For the next five months at least, the initiative remains fully funded with about $50 million, according to the Alliance to Save Energy (the exact amount isn’t broken out separately). That’s basically the same annual amount that has been allocated to the program for the past 15 years, but the impact of that investment has been sizable — the estimated savings related to Energy Star guidelines from appliances to buildings is pegged at around $430 billion over the lifetime of the program, according to the EPA. Even electric vehicle chargers are covered, an addition made in the waning days of the Obama administration.
Perhaps just as compelling, as of 2014 (PDF), at least $165 billion in private-sector investments was linked to the effort. There are at least 16,000 Energy Star “partners” — organizations that have invested in the strict, ongoing certification program.
Some other stats more likely to be persuasive with the new president’s advisers: about 2.2 million jobs are pegged to energy-efficiency initiatives across the United States, including those in manufacturing, installation, retrofits and construction. More than 20 cities and states use its metrics to help benchmark the progress of their own regional energy-efficiency projects.
Despite those compelling numbers and the short-term reprieve in early May, the program’s long-term fate is far from certain and the business community is speaking up. More than 1,050 companies — including giant door and window manufacturer Andersen, HVAC powerhouses Ingersoll Rand (parent of the Trane brand) and United Technologies, real estate companies CBRE and Jones Lang LaSalle, and tech giant Samsung Electronics — added their signatures to a letter (PDF) sent to four key U.S. senators and representatives Congress in late April urging them to stand up for energy efficiency in general and Energy Star in particular.
Read more (Green Biz)