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Partnerships for Home Energy Initiatives, Washington, D.C.

    Thank you, Secretary Jackson. Today is an important day for the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, our partnerships across the country - and most importantly, for the American people.

    This coordinated effort has both economic and environmental impacts. We are here not only to help homeowners reduce their energy bills through the improved energy efficiency of their homes – we are here to help protect our shared environment by avoiding the unnecessary production of power.

    For example, we know that there are:
    • Older energy-inefficient refrigerators, air conditioners and other appliances being used day after day.
    • We also know that many homes allow warmed or cooled air to escape through ineffective door and window seals.
    • This unnecessary energy production contributes to the powerplant emissions and leads to increased regional haze, soot, smog and mercury deposition.

    I am a strong believer in home energy efficiency measures. Over the years, I have designed and/or served as the general contractor for each of our family homes. In every one, I considered their use of water and energy. Our current home has won an award for energy efficiency, saving my family hundreds of dollars a year on power costs and limiting its impact on the environment.

    The bottom line is that there are practical measures each of us can do today to lower our energy bills and eliminate inefficient energy consumption.

    First, we need to build on the success of programs like EPA’s ENERGY STAR. This blue label is a powerful information tool that allows American consumers to invest in efficient products, cleaner air and healthier lives.
    • ENERGY STAR is a program that works because it leverages the power of the marketplace and helps people make their own smart energy efficiency choices for their homes.
    • The success of this voluntary program is staggering. To date, more than 1.5 billion products carrying the ENERGY STAR label have been purchased. And last year alone, the investment in ENERGY STAR saved enough energy to power 18 million homes and cut $10 billion from American’s energy bills.
    • We will continue to promote energy efficiency to homeowners and add new products to the ENERGY STAR family.
    • We look forward to expanding our work with our partners, many of whom are in the audience today —retailers, utilities, builders and contractors. YOU are the ones that talk to the customers. YOU help them make decisions about what products to buy and what projects to undertake in their homes. By working together we can bring more energy efficient solutions to more American homes.

    We are ready to take ENERGY STAR to the next level.
    • Some of the least cost options for lowering our home energy bills – while improving the comfort of our homes – have to do with the walls, ceilings, floors and roofs – the so-called envelope of the home.
    • It is about keeping the heated or cooled air we pay for actually in the home where we want it. This means having the right amount of insulation and sealing up the common gaps to the outside.
    • Since most homes have enough gaps in the basement and attic comparable to having a window open all summer or all winter long, we will be working with leading partners – such as retailers and insulation manufacturers – to help homeowners save energy by sealing their homes.

    We are also working with our partners to establish a new complete home retrofit program - called Home Performance with ENERGY STAR.
    • In this new program, contractors who help customers identify inefficient uses of energy and determine which projects in the home will fix the problems, can market their services as backed by the trusted ENERGY STAR label.
    • This is already working throughout the country in New York, California, Texas, Wisconsin and the New England states.
    • These early efforts are showing that good information on problems and energy efficient opportunities can produce saving of 20 to 30 % on home energy bills.

    EPA looks forward to our collaboration with HUD as we bring greater energy efficiency, energy bill savings, and more comfortable homes to the affordable housing market.

    This is an exciting day. EPA is delighted to work with our federal partners to offer America’s households the energy efficient solutions that will lower energy bills, avoid emissions from powerplants, and provide the next generation with a healthier, safer environment.

    Thank you all for joining us today.