House committee considers bill to transform Energy Star | U.S. Green Building Council
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USGBC supports the continuation of the Energy Star program under the EPA.

This week, the U.S. House Energy and Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy held a hearing to discuss draft legislation that would make major changes to the Energy Star program. Among them are a proposed move of Energy Star from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and an application of Administrative Procedures Act (APA) requirements to the Energy Star program.

Since its inception under the EPA in 1992, Energy Star has become a widely recognized symbol for energy efficiency in the United States. In 2015 alone, Energy Star-certified products, homes, buildings, and plants have enabled Americans to save $34 billion in energy costs. Such homes can allow homeowners to save up to 30 percent on their energy bills compared to a conventional home. The housing sector is taking notice of Energy Star’s value as well. Just last year, more than 92,000 Energy Star-certified new homes were built across the country.

The committee hosted several witnesses, each of whom expressed support in keeping the Energy Star program intact, though they disagreed in what form. Kateri Callahan, from the Alliance to Save Energy, voiced the organization's opposition to the move from EPA to DOE, calling it “tremendously disruptive” and stressing the negative effects it might have on existing partner relationships. Conversely, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers’ Joseph McGuire backed the move to DOE, citing “lack of expertise within EPA [which] led to complications with verification testing requirements” following the appliance standards program’s move to EPA in 2009.

Also discussed at the hearing was the proposed application of APA requirements to Energy Star. Greg Merritt, of Cree, Inc., expressed strong opposition to this potential change, saying that it “would add unnecessary, time-consuming and burdensome regulation to a voluntary program that by its very nature must be nimble, flexible and responsive.”

USGBC supports the continuation of Energy Star under the jurisdiction of EPA, as well as adequate funding to keep the program robust and effective. Read our letter sent to the House Energy and Commerce Committee leadership to learn more about USGBC’s views on the draft proposal.

Read USGBC's letter