Energy Star and Innovation at EPA

About the author: Mary Kemp is currently the Homeland Security Coordinator in the Dallas, TX regional office. Mary started at EPA in 1985 and has worked in the asbestos, superfund, and air programs.

I am a huge fan of the Energy Star program. To me, this is an extremely innovative program that encourages energy efficiency and saving money. The Energy Star program is a joint venture between EPA and the Department of Energy.

refrigerator showing two top doors and a bottom freezerI recently got my chance to look at the latest Energy Star refrigerators. In addition to Side-by-Side refrigerators, there are the French door refrigerators. These refrigerators have two doors on the top and a bottom freezer, making them extremely energy efficient. The more energy efficient refrigerator should result in a savings $4.00 or $5.00 a month on my utility bill. For more information on Energy Star appliances, see

aerial view of the parking lotAnother program within EPA is the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response Innovative Pilots, which funded several projects that tested new or underused ideas in environmental protection. One pilot was called “Creating an Integrated “Green” Parking Lot and Urban Wetlands on a Former Commercial Site.”

aerial view of the parking lotThis pilot occurred at the Heifer International Headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas. Heifer International constructed a wetland ecosystem and integrated its parking lot into it. Small green parking areas were designed to collect, cleanse, and recycle storm water into the environment. This project was so successful that EPA prepared a case study on the Heifer Parking Lot (PDF) (43 pages, 353 KB). Get PDF reader

The combination of the parking lot with other innovative and sustainable designs within the Heifer International Headquarters resulted in Heifer International’s Headquarters receiving the highest Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) rating of platinum. Not bad for an old industrial site!

Learn more about projects funded through the OSWER Innovation Pilots program.