Commercial, Energy Efficiency, Regulation  -  April 26, 2017

CNN: Killing Energy Star may aid Trump properties

There is no shortage of criticism of President Donald Trump's proposed plan to shutter the U.S. EPA's Energy Star program, but CNN may have made the strongest case against it yet. 

The Cable News Network on April 25 reported a potential conflict of interest in the president's plans, noting that Trump's properties tend to receive low Energy Star ratings. Based on the premise that Energy Star's ratings for commercial buildings affect property values, CNN inferred that if the program no longer existed, low-rated buildings could see an increase in value.

The news station reported:

The most recent scores from 2015 reveal that 11 of his 15 skyscrapers in New York, Chicago and San Francisco are less energy efficient than most comparable buildings. On a scale of 1 to 100 for energy efficiency, Manhattan's old Mayfair Hotel, which Trump converted into condos, rated a 1.

 "You bet your life that it is (a conflict)," CNN quoted Norman Ornstein, a political scientist at the American Enterprise Institute, as saying of Trump's plans to defund the Energy Star program. Ornstein and Energy Star itself contend that the ratings can affect the value of a property, according to CNN. 

The news agency said neither the Trump Organization nor the White House responded to multiple requests for comment on the story, which came as more than 1,000 U.S. companies and organizations have banned together to urge Congress to keep the Energy Star program alive. 

The letter, which was sent April 24, was led by the Alliance to Save Energy and signed by big league brands spanning the energy and commercial and industrial sectors, including electric utilities and energy efficiency companies alike. Signatories included Bristol-Myers Squibb, CBRE Inc., Ingersol Rand, Johnson Controls, Panasonic Corp. and Staples Inc. 

"Shutting down this program would hurt American businesses, consumers and our overall economy, and we strongly encourage the administration to reconsider the budget proposal," Alliance to Save Energy President Kateri Callahan said. "This letter demonstrates the enormous business support for a venerable public-private partnership and sends a clear directive to Washington: keep the Energy Star program going and growing."

The letter calls the Energy Star program "a model for successful collaboration between the public and private sectors." 

Editor's note: The Energy Star program is Smart Energy Decisions content partner and Smart Energy Decisions has called on the administration to spare its elimination. 

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