Commercial, Demand Management, Energy Efficiency, Industrial, Regulation  -  March 10, 2017 - By John Failla

An open letter to President Trump on Energy Star

President Trump,

The readers of Smart Energy Decisions operate the commercial buildings and industrial plants responsible for nearly half of the nation's energy use. And while a great deal of progress and sophistication has been achieved over the years, much of this energy is still wasted through inefficiencies. Offering evidence of those inefficiencies is a recent report from energy consulting firm Edison Energy that identified $80 billion dollars in potential energy savings still available to our readers.

By working directly with hundreds of U.S. businesses across all industry sectors, the U.S. EPA's Energy Star program — which your administration is reportedly planning to place on the chopping block — and its buildings and plants program specifically, provides a nationwide vehicle to help companies attack those inefficiencies and realize the related cost savings.

I fully support your efforts to cut wasteful government spending. With that said, I believe cutting the Energy Star buildings and plants program will be counterproductive as the program has resulted in aggregate energy savings by thousands of commercial and industrial companies that far exceed the cost of the program.

Here are seven business reasons to keep the Energy Star buildings and plants program intact:

  1. The businesses that work with Energy Star to reduce their energy use and save money do so voluntarily. The companies participating in the program want to be in it because they realize benefits that are a tangible return from their tax dollars. These companies are stronger and more profitable as a result of their participation in the program. One could go as far as to argue this is one of the few government programs that business gets a direct benefit from.
  2. As a government program (not a commercial one) Energy Star provides objective, credible, industrywide data to businesses that can be used to evaluate their performance in a national, standardized platform.
  3. Recognition offered by the Energy Star program is an extremely strong motivator for companies large and small to engage in energy efficiency. Throughout 2016, Smart Energy Decisions published 15 stories profiling Energy Star award winners. What we learned is how deeply these companies are motivated by and committed to the program. They have all made energy efficiency a key part of their operations as a result of the support from Energy Star.
  4. Of the Fortune 500, 35% participate with Energy Star to improve their energy efficiency. Overall, more than 6,000 organizations are working with Energy Star to make their properties more energy efficient, including big league Colgate-Palmolive Co., Food Lion LLC, General Motors Co., Staples and Target Corp., just to name a few.
  5. Energy Star's Portfolio Manager is a free online tool that serves as industry standard. It's an essential tool for measuring and tracking energy efficiency within commercial buildings. It has been used to benchmark more than 44 billion square feet of commercial floor space across almost 500,000 buildings, which represents 50% of commercial floor space in the U.S.
  6. Buildings and plants that have earned Energy Star certification are performing among the top 25% of similar buildings nationwide. By the end of 2016, almost 30,000 had earned Energy Star certification.
  7. The EPA reports that on average, Energy Star certified buildings use 35% less energy than their peers. That's a lot of current and future potential savings for American businesses. Bigly.

There are certainly many government programs with questionable value and return. The EPA's Energy Star buildings and plants program is not one of them. On behalf of our readers, whose deep engagement with Energy Star has resulted in millions of dollars in savings, I strongly encourage your administration to reconsider any plans to eliminate the program.

Sincerely,

John Failla
Founder & Editorial Director
Smart Energy Decisions
john@smartenergydecisions.com

 

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