On July 31, President Bush signed an Executive Order requiring all federal agencies to purchase products and appliances that meet a new 1-watt standby standard (down from an average of 4 to 7 watts), wherever cost-effective. View the Executive Order.
The Executive Order was signed three days after President Bush highlighted ENERGY STAR as a central part of the Administration’s efforts to promote energy conservation. Bush focused on “standby power,” the energy consumed by electronic equipment and small household appliances that are turned “off.” Many common household appliances, such as televisions, VCRs, telephones, computers, cordless phones, answering machines, and dustbusters use standby power. An appliance will consume standby power if it has remote control, an external power supply, a digital display, a soft-touch keypad, or battery charging features.
Standby power is now responsible for about 5% of residential electricity. President Bush wants to slay these “vampires” that continuously “suck” energy from electrical outlets, and unnecessarily waste energy. The President also said the new one-watt standard must be incorporated into the qualifications necessary to earn the ENERGY STAR label explaining “ENERGY STAR is an important marketing tool, because it says to energy-conscious consumers this product makes sense; this product incorporates the latest technology to conserve energy.”
On July 30, 2001, EPA Administrator Christie Whitman announced that supermarkets and grocery stores can now use ENERGY STAR’s national rating tool to evaluate and compare their stores’ energy performance to each other and against similar stores nationwide. View the press release. Any supermarket company can now enter basic energy and business activity data online and receive a score from 1–100, telling them the energy efficiency of a particular building. Armed with this information, companies can compare their stores with similar stores nationwide and make decisions that will lead to optimal energy and environmental performance in their stores. Stores with scores of 75 or above are eligible for the ENERGY STAR label. A Shaw’s supermarket in Boston was the first supermarket to qualify for the ENERGY STAR label.
Progress is underway to expand the national energy performance rating system to include healthcare facilities for the healthcare industry by November 2001.
EPA, working with ASHE, is now finalizing this tool to compare the energy performance of hospitals and healthcare facilities and to reward the facilities that rank in the top 25% of the market with an ENERGY STAR label. Benchmarking is a powerful way to track and manage an organization’s energy performance and to prioritize energy upgrade investments.
If your company is interested in becoming a part of the test group for the development of this tool, please contact Jean Hand at (703) 218-2658 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Draft 1 of the revised specification for ENERGY STAR labeled TVs, VCRs, TV/VCRs, TV/DVDs, and TV/DVD/VCRs was released for industry feedback on May 1, 2001. ENERGY STAR is revising the existing specification to raise the bar for energy efficiency consistent with changes in technology and the marketplace, to encourage partners to produce products with more energy-efficient designs, and to broaden the specification’s scope.
The draft specification contains Phase I Standby Mode criteria of no more than one watt for qualifying TVs and TVs with built-in EPG; two watts for qualifying VCRs; and three watts for qualifying TV/VCRs, TV/DVDs, and TV/VCR/DVDs. TVs with built-in EPG also have an additional power consumption requirement of no more than 15 watts in the Download Acquisition Mode.
When Columbus Hospitality Group, a subsidiary of Bass Hotels and Resorts, joined ENERGY STAR in May 2000, the organization’s goal was to improve the energy performance of their hotel. Through strategic energy management upgrades, Columbus Hospitality Group’s yearlong efforts have already had an impact on their energy performance, with a reduction in maintenance costs and projected savings in excess of $30,000. These cost-saving upgrades have also resulted in an increase in guest satisfaction. “These profitable upgrades were made while maintaining or increasing guest satisfaction,” said Cliff Paulson, facilities director. Energy data is also tracked for each piece of equipment, facilitating the organization of routine maintenance and allowing employees from any department to report equipment problems directly to the engineering department.
Some examples of their energy performance improvements include:
Initial investment = $30,800
Estimated annual reduction in energy consumption = 480,000 kWh
Estimated annual cost savings = $30,000
Columbus Hospitality Group has invested significant time and energy in training employees about ENERGY STAR and its methodology, with on-site examples, presentations, and operational procedures that lead to energy savings. The employee training has led to increased morale and pride by staff across hotel departments.
“Our energy management strategy has paralleled the ENERGY STAR methodology. We are serious about energy efficiency and believe in its benefits,” said Cliff Paulson, director of Facilities. “We expect these upgrades, along with guidance from ENERGY STAR, to prevent pollution, save money, and help the environment!”
Having identified significant opportunities to make ceiling fans more energy efficient, including using better motors, better blade designs, and compact fluorescent light sources, ENERGY STAR is developing a draft specification for labeling ceiling fans.
ENERGY STAR is currently working with more than a dozen ceiling fan manufacturers and retailers to develop an effective specification to address both energy efficiency and the noise most ceiling fans produce. A recent meeting between ENERGY STAR and industry representatives yielded the following timeline for development of the specification:
Ceiling fans with the ENERGY STAR label should be available for use in your home by early 2002. Please direct any questions or comments to Andrew Fanara at email@example.com.
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is changing all of its vehicular and pedestrian traffic signals to Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology. IDOT’s final specifications will include ENERGY STAR criteria for power consumption. IDOT expects significant savings in the total energy cost by changing to the ENERGY STAR LED signals. The LEDs should also significantly lower expected maintenance costs, which currently consist of an annual relamping of all incandescent signal lamps and the unscheduled replacement of burnt-out incandescent lamps throughout the year.
On average, the state switches about 450 signals on the highway system to LED technology each year. To further expedite the conversion to LEDs, IDOT is preparing a budget issue to fund a multi-year retrofit program. IDOT will pay a portion of the energy charges for the traffic signals on the state’s highway system beginning July 1, 2001, resulting in an additional cost to the department of several millions of dollars per year.
For more information, contact Yogesh Gautam, Traffic System Engineer, IDOT (217) 782-3452 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
EPA Administrator, Christie Whitman, recently held two events with members of the real estate industry to recognize their vital role in ENERGY STAR. Recently she held two events with members of the real estate industry to recognize their vital role in ENERGY STAR. On June 7, Whitman met with the president of Harwood Management Services, a Dallas-based real estate development and management firm, to award them the ENERGY STAR label on four office properties. Days later, at a forum sponsored by the Real Estate Roundtable, a Washington organization providing industry leadership on policy issues, Whitman remarked, “With the help of your example, the ENERGY STAR program is expanding rapidly. In just six months, more than half of the buildings in the United States will be eligible for ENERGY STAR benchmarks — representing 15% of total energy use in our country.” ENERGY STAR has been working closely with the commercial real estate market to promote ENERGY STAR in office buildings. The tremendous success in this area has led to expanding ENERGY STAR into several sectors including retail, hospitality, and health care.