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Speeches By EPA Administrator

 

National Association of Home Builders and The Energy Star Program, Washington, D.C.

05/06/2003
Remarks of Governor Christine Todd Whitman,
Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
to the
Executive Board
of the
National Association of Home Builders
Washington, D.C.

May 6, 2003


Thank you, Kent (Conine) for that introduction. It = s good to be with you today.

In the early years of my marriage, my husband, John, and I built our own home. A project like that is one of these things that seems more fun as you look back on it than it did at the time. But undertaking that project was an exciting thing.

I also think it was good preparation for my life in politics B lots of choices and decisions have to be made, those decisions must be made on a deadline and within a budget; you will live with the decisions you make for a long time; and, once you= re finished, everyone who sees what you = ve done always thinks they could have done it better.

Of course, for those of you who make your living putting roofs over peoples = heads, you = re always looking for better ways of doing things B finding efficiencies in cost and improvements in methods. I like to think that at the EPA, we are on a similar mission B to always improve our efforts to leave America = s air cleaner, its water purer, and its land better protected than we found it.

Back in 1995, EPA and the National Association of Homebuilders came together, as partners, behind a good idea that has proved to be both better for business and for the environment B building comfortable, durable, and affordable, energy efficient homes. By joining together to extend our Energy Star label to your energy efficient homes, we are showing that good environmental practices and good business practices are not mutually exclusive B in fact, they go together like a hammer and nails.

There = s been an added benefit to our Energy Star partnership B influencing others to be part of our Energy Star program. Your industry accounts for more than 4 million jobs and represents 13 percent of America = s Gross National Product. When you embrace a program like Energy Star, people notice. Your strong support for this program has helped it expand, not just in your own industry, but beyond.

Today, more than 1,500 builders in all 50 states are building Energy Star homes B including one out of every three of the top 100 builders in the country. When you couple that with all of EPA = s other Energy Star partners B more than 7,000 of them, stretching across 35 different product categories and hundreds of products B it adds up to big results.

Today, more than 40 percent of the American people recognize the Energy Star label. To date, more than one billion Energy Star products have been purchased by consumers. And last year alone, those products helped consumers and businesses save more than $7 billion on their energy bills, save enough energy to power 15 million homes, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking 14 million cars off the road.

As we look back over the past seven years of our partnership, the record is truly impressive. At the start of our partnership, just 55 homes in the United States qualified for the Energy Star. That = s as many homes as you find in the small town of Atlanta, Nebraska B population 130.

Today, less than a decade later, I = m pleased to announce that we have made some improvement. There are now 100,000 Energy Star homes in America. That = s more houses than there are in Atlanta, Georgia B population 416,000. That = s quite an accomplishment. Well done!

Before I conclude, there=s one other EPA-NAHB partnership I want to mention B one we just announced last week.: the new, web-based Construction Industry Compliance Assistance Center. This internet site will make it easier for you to find the plain language information you need about how our environmental regulations will affect your specific projects. It will also provide links to state and local agencies who also have a say in the matter. I urge you to check it out at www.cicacenter.org. I think you = ll find it a useful tool.

I look forward to continuing to build on our Energy Star partnership, as well as finding new ways in which we can work together B like our Compliance Assistance Center B to prove that environmental protection and economic prosperity can and do go hand in hand. As I found out when my husband and I built our house, building strong partnerships is a lot like building a house B it takes a lot of work, but, in the end, you = re better and stronger for it.

Thank you.