Pursuing Positive Changes to ENERGY STAR®
Consumers seek out appliances with the blue ENERGY STAR label as a symbol of a high level of efficiency. Earning the designation is important for appliance manufacturers who want to remain competitive. The program is actually so successful that, while voluntary, it has become, in effect, a mandatory program – but without the due notice, reasonable timing and defined scope that a regulatory program must have. This became a real problem for manufacturers when the appliance portion of ENERGY STAR was moved from the Department of Energy to EPA in 2009.
The link between the DOE appliance standards levels and test procedures has weakened under EPA. The EPA’s lack of expertise with home appliances, the desire to move the program beyond energy efficiency and the need to coordinate the work of two agencies on product testing has caused manufacturers needless uncertainty, costs and time spent defending the need to focus the program solely on energy efficiency.
AHAM is the leading voice advocating for a better, more efficient, ENERGY STAR program for home appliance manufacturers. AHAM is leading an effort to move administration of ENERGY STAR for home appliances from EPA back to the Department of Energy, where it was housed from 1996 until 2009. The return to DOE will help keep the focus of the program on efficiency and stop EPA from expanding the ENERGY STAR scope into other areas such as product performance, as it has already attempted to do. It will prevent the need for companies to duplicate work.
AHAM has successfully fought to reduce barriers to participation in ENERGY STAR, successfully stopping mandatory performance reporting for dishwashers and any performance test and reporting for clothes washers.
The transfer back to DOE can be accomplished by the two agencies. DOE is supportive of this at the highest level. AHAM is continuing to urge EPA to agree to the change but we are also working with Congress to enact a law that permanently houses the ENERGY STAR appliance program in DOE.