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Celebrating Energy Star: 20 Years of Partnership, Promise, and Progress

2012 March 20

By Administrator Lisa P. Jackson

This entry previously posted on Huffington Post

Twenty years ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had a bold vision. With the increasing use of electronics in American households and business — including the introduction of personal computers that would soon be in every home and office across the country — the agency saw a need to conserve energy and reduce air pollution to create a healthier climate for all Americans. They saw an opportunity to harness market forces that would encourage both consumers and companies to invest in cleaner, more innovative, more energy-efficient products in sectors across the economy. The result was the Energy Star program.

In the two decades that have passed since it began, Energy Star has become a household name. Its familiar blue label appears on televisions, dishwashers, computers and more — upwards of five billion products sold in the last two decades. We’ve also certified more than 1.3 million Energy Star houses and tens of thousands of buildings across the country. American families and businesses have saved a combined total of nearly $230 billion dollars on their utility bills with help from Energy Star, and prevented more than 1.7 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

The program’s partnership with leading companies from every sector of the economy is proof positive that we can strengthen our economy at the same time we protect our environment. Consumers know that Energy Star means savings on the power bill, and they drive the change — voting with their dollars to support companies that make products that meet and exceed Energy Star standards. After 20 years, our vast network of partners gives Americans a wide-array of innovative choices for saving energy and cutting costs every day.

Energy Star is one of our great success stories, and it will play a vital role in our future. The challenges we face in growing our economy, the threats to our health from air pollution, and the need for action to protect our planet from climate change all demand serious energy and environmental solutions. In a comprehensive energy strategy, improving efficiency is at the top of the list.

Twenty years in, we still have a bold vision, one in which the Energy Star program helps millions of people — in the U.S. and around the world — save money, protect their health and the environment, and strengthen an economy that’s built to last.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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One Response leave one →
  1. Emmy permalink
    March 20, 2012

    I love the Energy Star program, and think it really is a great success story in its ability to regulate products produced by the private sector for Americans as a whole. I think a key factor to its success was the EPA’s early realization that electronics were on the rise, and this program and regulations were put in place early. With that said, a further issue that needs to be tackled is now the way these electronics are disposed of. Our fast-paced innovative world develops smarter, small gadgets rapidly, giving us no choice but to replace our electronics to stay updated in our high-tech world. With just over 300 million Americans in the U.S., we replace over 400 million electrical gadgets every year, and this number continues to grow. The Energy Star program has prevented 1.7 billion metric tons of GHG emissions from entering our atmosphere, and eliminates threats to our heath from air pollution. This has been done through regulation of the creation of these electronics. The other half of the story, the disposal of these products now needs to be regulated as well.

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