The Power of Partnership

Hewan Tomlinson

Hewan Tomlinson

Hewan Tomlinson

Photo courtesy of Bernie Gardella, Boston Ballet Company

By: Hewan Tomlinson

Before I worked in energy efficiency, I was a ballet dancer. Like most young dancers, I wanted to have the stage all to myself. I admit I was not all that interested in partnership, unless by that you meant the poor guy standing behind me in the shadows doing the heavy lifting and making everything I did look effortless.

So, I was surprised to find that most of my favorite pieces—to dance and to watch—were the big ensembles. Don’t get me wrong: all any of us wanted was the chance to be alone in the limelight as much as possible! But when we all came together on stage, as partners, we became more than the sum of our parts. We could take an audience of thousands outside their day-to-day lives for a moment, bring them to their feet together, and send them home with an extra spring in their step.

I think ENERGY STAR is like this: our partners strive to be (and are) industry leaders, and they spend a lot of time and effort to get to stand alone up there at the top. But just like dancers, when they come together, they are able to make a great impact. ENERGY STAR partners move in an elaborate dance, bridging many different sectors of the economy. Their collaboration and competition spurs innovation, drives energy efficiency, and helps protect the environment for future generations.

Sure that sounds dramatic, but here are a few facts to back it up:

  • Since its inception in 1992, ENERGY STAR has grown to represent products in more than 65 different categories, with more than 5 billion sold over the past 20 years.
  • Over 1.3 million new homes and tens of thousands of facilities proudly carry EPA’s ENERGY STAR certification, use dramatically less energy, and are responsible for substantially less greenhouse gas emissions than their peers.
  • Families and companies across America are improving the energy efficiency of their homes and businesses with the help of ENERGY STAR in ways that cost less and help the environment.  They have saved nearly $230 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 1.7 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the past two decades.

Nearly 20,000 ENERGY STAR partners worked together to make this happen during the first two decades of ENERGY STAR, and they are poised to accomplish even more in the future. If they were dancers on a stage, they would be getting a huge standing ovation right about now.

Bravo! That’s one powerful partnership!

Hewan Tomlinson has over 15 years of experience in the energy efficiency and environmental sector. She serves at EPA as a liaison to energy efficiency program sponsors, supporting their ENERGY STAR partnerships, and their collaboration with industry to advance the market for energy efficient technologies and practices. Much earlier, Hewan danced with the Boston Ballet.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.