In 1992, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency created a new voluntary program called Energy Star to help businesses and individuals save money and help the environment through energy efficiency. At the heart of the program is a voluntary labeling system that is designed to help consumers identify and understand the benefits of energy-efficient products. The labels now appear on major appliances, office equipment, lighting, home electronics, and buildings. The EPA says the system has saved $24 billion since 2012.
President Trump’s first budget proposal would eliminate the program entirely. Most Presidents issue a “skinny budget” their first year, which means the budget has little in the way of explanation because most of the new President’s staff has not been hired yet. For that reason, there is little explanation for why the President wants to eliminate this popular program. The budget just states that it will eliminate more than 50 EPA programs that it says are lower priority, poorly performing, duplicative, or the responsibility of state and local governments. One of these 50 programs slated for a shutdown is Energy Star.
Energy Star has garnered some criticism over the years, particularly because it relies on self-certification from manufacturers. Independent testing does not always match the energy savings claimed by manufacturers. The program has not had any prominent voices calling for it to end, however. Some have speculated that President Trump’s administration views the program as an unnecessary climate regulation. It may also be targeted as something the Trump administration believes private industry can handle themselves. No matter the reason, it is important to keep in mind that a President’s budget is just a proposal. Ultimately, Congress will decide whether the program is funded in the future and for now there is no sign that the program is truly facing an imminent demise.
Greenwave Energy provides environmentally-sustainable energy solutions for California residents. We keep an eye on national policy and industry trends to help put our mission in context and provide a resource for our customers.