November 21, 2017

Is ENERGY STAR Headed Back to the Department of Energy?

by Guest Blogger

As we begin looking toward 2018, some interesting news from Capitol Hill on the ENERGY STAR™ program, which we’ve been tracking throughout this year.

DWM Magazine reports:
The House Energy and Commerce Sub-Committee held a discussion hearing today on possible legislation that could lead to major changes to the Energy Star program. The bill’s biggest proposal would transfer the program’s leadership from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the Department of Energy (DOE).

The full article is certainly worth a read. The new proposal would additionally subject ENERGY STAR to the Administrative Procedure Act, making every proposed change to the program subject to publishing in the Federal Register and public comment. That’s good for transparency and visibility, though it could possibly drag out potential changes for lengthier periods of time.

However, ENERGY STAR’s defenders may read trouble into this proposed ENERGY STAR Reform Act of 2017. Certainly, “reform” can mean many things, and throughout 2017 both President Donald Trump and the Republican-held Congress have signaled their intent to downsize the program if not eliminate it entirely. Some groups, from several different corners, have been quick to voice an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude, citing the program’s success over the years.  

As I’ve written in the past, I believe ENERGY STAR to be a good thing for the fenestration industry. Prior to its inception in 1992, there were virtually no rules around reporting window performance, leaving consumers with no way to gauge how one product performed versus another.

But it’s possible transferring ENERGY STAR to the DOE could in fact be the best thing for the program in the long term. Many of us remember when the part of the program specifically pertaining to windows was managed by DOE before being transferred to EPA, where the home appliances program had been well established. With the higher funding levels enjoyed by DOE over EPA, ENERGY STAR should be affordable and effective.

It’s not the law of the land yet, though. We’ll be keeping our eyes on these moves into 2018.

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Posted: November 21, 2017 by Guest Blogger Filed under: DOE, ENERGY STAR, government