Energy Environment  
Proposed Bill Would Return Energy Star  
to Control of Department of Energy  
he House Energy and Commerce  
Subcommittee held a discussion  
hearing on possible legislation  
that could lead to major changes to the  
Energy Star program. The bill’s biggest  
proposal would transfer the program’s  
leadership from the Environmental  
Protection Agency (EPA) to the De-  
partment of Energy (DOE).  
ment process can take years to com-  
plete. (Republicans say it would allow  
for many more stakeholders to weigh  
in on changes.) The group also says  
delays could leave standards lagging  
far behind product innovation. That,  
in turn, would undermine consumer  
confidence in Energy Star, and it could  
lead to fewer companies participating  
in the program, which has been called  
a model of public-private energy-effi-  
ciency programs.  
This hearing is a starting point for  
reforming the Energy Star program,”  
said Rep. Bob Latta, R-Ohio, the author  
of the proposed bill, which hasn’t been  
formally introduced into Congress.  
According to EPA, in 2014 Energy  
Star saved consumers $34 billion on  
Democrats on the subcommit- lights program from EPA to DOE would their utility bills, while preventing the  
tee were much less enthusiastic. Rep. be disruptive. release of 300 million metric tons of  
Frank Pallone, D-N.J., the ranking “I have a constituent glass company greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.  
member, called the proposed bill “very that has had a very positive experience “The old adage,‘if it ain’t broke, don’t  
troubling.” with the windows program at EPA,” fix it’applies very well to today’s Energy  
I have serious concerns with the Griffith said.“Do you see any challenges Star program and should be the test  
Energy Star Reform Act of 2017 dis- in keeping certain programs like the against which the subcommittee deter-  
cussion draft, which makes several windows program at EPA,while moving mines the content of any bill designed  
significant changes to the Energy Star the appliance program to DOE?”  
program,” he said. “And I have one  
The doors, windows and skylights liance to Save Energy president Kateri  
question: what problem are we trying program began life at the DOE and Callahan said.  
to change or improve the program,”Al-  
to solve with this proposal? The Energy moved to EPA in 2009 when the previ-  
The Energy Star Reform Act of 2017  
Star program is extremely successful, ous administration shifted Energy Star would also create limited liability pro-  
reducing energy consumption and leadership to that agency.  
tections for program participants.  
saving consumers money. … So, again, The Energy Star Reform Act of 2017 Participating companies whose prod-  
why the need for a change? I have yet to would also require the program to ad- ucts are found to be out of compliance  
hear a credible argument from anyone here to the Administrative Procedure would be subject to all corrective mea-  
as to why this is necessary.”  
While the Energy Star Reform Act of change to an Energy Star specifica- face litigation for noncompliance.  
017 would make DOE the lead agency tion as agency rulemaking. Because of  
The discussion draft also provides  
Act (APA). That would treat every sures and penalties, but they wouldn’t  
for Energy Star,it would allow for some that, proposed changes would be pub- limited exceptions from the require-  
responsibilities to be delegated to the lished in the Federal Register and face ment that all products participating in  
EPA. Witnesses who testified at the a lengthy public-comment period.  
Energy Star be tested by a third-party  
“I worry that this will make the pro- certification body.  
In March,the administration’s initial  
hearing said swapping agency leader-  
ship could create confusion and gen- gram less nimble, and harm both con-  
erate extra costs, a concern at a time sumers and companies by opening the 2018 budget proposal called for Energy  
when both DOE and EPA are facing process to new, needless litigation from Star to be defunded and its functions  
significant budget cuts.  
Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., asked Energy Star’s standards,”said Pallone.  
the panel of witnesses if moving the According to the Alliance to Save tinued,but its budget was slashed from  
Energy Star windows, doors and sky- Energy, the APA’s full notice and com- $66 million to $31 million. n  
companies who otherwise couldn’t meet possibly transferred to a non-govern-  
mental entity. The program was con-  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | December 2017  

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