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Industry backs threatened energy scheme

USA: More than 1,000 companies, including the owners of air conditioning giants Carrier and Trane, have called on Congress to preserve the EPA’s Energy Star programme.

In a signed letter to Congress, the companies, led by the energy efficiency advocacy group the Alliance to Save Energy, have called on lawmakers to strengthen the Energy Star programme that was recently proposed for elimination under the Trump administration’s budget.

Introduced in 1992, Energy Star is a voluntary labelling programme designed to identify and promote energy efficient products to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is considered to be one of the most successful public-private partnerships in US history, with more than 16,000 partner companies and organisations participating. Run by the EPA, the programme certifies a wide variety of products as highly efficient – from appliances to electronics to buildings and manufacturing facilities. It is recognised by the Energy Star logo that appears on products sold across the country.

“Energy Star is a model for successful collaboration between the public and private sectors,” the letter states. “It enjoys a long track record of success and should be strengthened, not weakened, to ensure it continues providing these important benefits to the public while helping us meet our energy and environmental goals.”

The co-signees include Carrier’s owner UTC, Trane’s parent company Ingersoll Rand, and Johnson Controls, manufacturer of York air conditioning products.

Scott Tew, executive director of the Ingersoll Rand Center for Energy Efficiency and Sustainability, commented: “The Energy Star programme doesn’t just help our Trane brand differentiate between its energy efficient consumer HVAC products, but it also helps our customers in understanding and marketing the energy performance of their buildings.”

The programme, which costs about $50m per year to administer, saves consumers more than $34bn per year in reduced energy costs. It has enjoyed strong bipartisan support for 25 years.

Despite this success, the budget released last month by the White House calls for eliminating Energy Star along with other programmes at the EPA.

“Shutting down this programme would hurt American businesses, consumers and our overall economy, and we strongly encourage the administration to reconsider the budget proposal,” said Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance to Save Energy.

A copy of the letter can be found here.

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