The View From Here
by Ric Jackson
February 19th, 2018

Will Energy Star Survive Again?

Last week, DWM wrote an informative article about the 2019 White House budget plan and what it would mean for the Energy Star program. Long story short, if the plan passes as is, Energy Star would become a “pay-to-play” program with manufacturers being charged a fee to participate. It would also include a $46 million upfront appropriation before fees kick in.

Some of you might be thinking “good riddance.” But to others – including myself – it’s concerning.

What makes Energy Star work is that it costs participants nothing for the label itself. It is voluntary, and it is earned. And right now, there are more than 300 participating manufacturers who have invested in independent verification, testing and upgrading components to meet requirements. They rely on it as part of their business model and their marketing.

If that’s not enough, Energy Star is a trusted consumer resource that helps them sort through the clutter of environmental claims to find energy-efficient products. It is well-organized, well-known and is a symbol of quality that helps consumers make better choices.

The sad part is that Energy Star is just a small fraction of the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget – yet it continues to be targeted. It survived in 2018, albeit with a much lower budget, because of the efforts of advocates who believe strongly in the merits of the program.

Will that happen again?

The View from Here is that there will certainly be changes – but the pay-to-play model will not work. It takes away from the credibility of the program and it also hurts manufacturers who have made significant investments to qualify. My hope is that cooler heads will prevail again.

What’s your View? Email me directly at eric.jackson@quanex.com.

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