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Speeches By EPA Administrator

 

Energy Star Awards Ceremony, Washington, D.C.

03/26/2002
Remarks for Governor Christine Todd Whitman,
Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
at the
Energy Star Awards Ceremony
Washington, D.C.

March 26, 2002


Thank you for that introduction.

It is a pleasure to be here tonight to celebrate the 10th anniversary of this incredible program, and more important, the partners who make it so successful. Energy Star – and tonight’s winners – are truly a shining example of environmental protection at its best.

Since we last gathered for this awards ceremony, Energy Star has had another exciting year. On a daily basis, consumers, businesses, and homeowners across the country are proving that we can get real environmental results – and economic benefits – from the voluntary actions of concerned citizens.

The results this year are as inspiring as ever and show the broad impact of Energy Star savings. In 2001, Energy Star saved 80 billion kilowatt hours and more than 10,000 megawatts of peak power. At the same time, harmful emissions equivalent to that of 10 million cars were eliminated from our air.

These results begin with the manufacturers – many of whom are here tonight – who choose to make products that can earn the Energy Star. In 2001, more than 1,600 manufacturers produced a total of 11,000 individual product models in over 30 Energy Star categories.

With that many choices, it is no surprise that the Energy Star label is recognized by more than 40 percent of the American public – a number we are working to grow to 60 percent by 2005. When entering a store, they are virtually bombarded with Energy Star options – from televisions to washing machines. It is evident that when confronted with a choice, many consumers choose the Energy Star symbol of efficiency – in fact, they did so more than 150 million times last year alone.

As you all know, the option to choose Energy Star is no longer limited to the appliance section of department stores. Businesses can have their office buildings benchmarked for energy performance – more than 10,000 already have – and earn the Energy Star label as a visible sign of their commitment to the environment. Already, 10 percent of our country’s office building space has been benchmarked using the tools that EPA provides.

The number – and types – of buildings that are eligible for the Energy Star rating system are growing rapidly. 285 schools have already earned the Energy Star, and last year we launched new rating systems for grocery stores, hospitals, and hotels. I am proud to say that even more are on their way, and we expect to add warehouses, industrial facilities, and energy intensive convenience stores to this growing list in 2002 and beyond.

The future is indeed bright for the Energy Star program. As I mentioned, our goal is to build public awareness of Energy Star to 60 percent nationwide by the end of 2005. We are sowing the seeds of that awareness today, which is why I launched a public awareness campaign last year. Through public service announcements on television, radio, and print media, we will continue to educate consumers and homeowners of the products and practices that can lower their energy bills by as much as $400 a year.

Awareness also increases as the Energy Star label becomes more visible. In addition to seeing the unmistakable symbol of efficiency on more and more buildings nationwide, we plan to add new products and services to the Energy Star family, including telephone products and vending machines.

Of course, for everything that is new with Energy Star, the foundation of this program’s success still remains our partners – especially tonight’s award winners. They range from the world’s largest corporation to a small school district, from retailers to manufacturers, from Texas to California to New Jersey and everywhere in between.

Over the past year, I have had a chance to participate in events with several of tonight’s winners. I visited a Lowe’s Store in Lexington, Kentucky where they are helping homeowners save money by making improvements to their home’s energy efficiency. I joined with executives from Verizon to challenge the telecom industry to embrace a number of strategies to become more efficient. I joined OSRAM Sylvania in relighting the Jefferson Memorial here in Washington with more efficient lights. And I visited a Sears store, this year’s Retail Partner of the Year, in Chicago.

They are just a few examples of the incredible work each of you is doing to promote energy efficiency in our country – and beyond our borders. You are proving that what is good for the environment is also good for business. I appreciate the effort you put into being a good corporate neighbor – and I know that consumers do too.

They understand that buying a product with the Energy Star label or moving into an Energy Star building or home is not only saving money and helping the environment – but rewarding good stewardship from people like you. With partners like all of you here tonight, I am confident that next year – and every year after that – will be record years for Energy Star – and the environment as a whole.

Thank you for choosing to lead our country to greater energy security and a cleaner environment for future generations.

Thank you.