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Energy Star Event at the Department of Veteran Affairs, Washington, D.C.

Remarks of Governor Christine Todd Whitman,
Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
at the
Department of Veterans Affairs
Washington, D.C.

May 14, 2003

Thank you, Dr. (Robert) Roswell, for that introduction. I = m pleased to be with you today.

When I was governor of New Jersey, one of the great privileges that comes with that office is the opportunity to visit New Jersey = s VA hospitals from time to time to honor the men and women who care for our veterans in the VA health care system and to pay tribute to those who served our country in America= s armed forces. As you here at the VA know so well, by serving America = s veterans, we serve America.

Today I am pleased to recognize another way the Department of Veterans Affairs is serving our country B that = s by promoting energy efficiency throughout your network of VA hospitals. The effort by this Department to improve energy efficiency at 150 of its hospitals is an example of both good environmental stewardship and good environmental leadership. I want to thank my friend and colleague, Secretary Principi, for his commitment to this important undertaking B good government at its best.

As you = ve heard, hospitals are among the most energy-intensive buildings in use today, consuming more than twice as much energy per square foot as office buildings. That= s why, last year, EPA expanded the Energy Star offerings available to hospitals. We wanted to encourage hospitals to evaluate their own energy performance, and find ways to decrease energy use without compromising patient care or comfort. Making that effort would earn them the Energy Star.

The effort you = ve made across your hospital system represents the most extensive hospital Energy Star effort to date. You are showing the way for other hospitals around the country. I have no doubt that the example you are setting will inspire others to follow your lead.

The 18 hospitals we are recognizing today represent a true cross-section of the hospital landscape. They stretch from Boston to Seattle and serve veterans in big cities like Philadelphia and in less populated areas such as Fort Harrison, Montana. Your Energy Star awardees show that every hospital can do what it takes to earn an Energy Star, no matter their size or location. All it takes is commitment.

These 18 facilities rank in the top 25 percent of all hospitals nationwide in terms of energy efficiency, saving millions of dollars in energy costs and reducing pollution in the bargain. Every Energy Star earned by a hospital means the air we breathe is a little cleaner and a little healthier.

Of course, our Energy Star program includes a wide variety of participants and products B everything from hospitals to hand-held appliances. Last year alone, Energy Star products and practices saved enough energy to power 15 million homes, preventing as much greenhouse gas emissions as if 14 million cars were taken off the road. Energy Star also helped consumers save $7 billion off their energy bills. This program is a win-win for everyone.

Recently I had the chance to meet with some people in the entertainment industry about their ideas for promoting Energy Star to the public. Those meetings reminded me of the claim that MGM made back when it was the biggest studio in Hollywood. They said they had A More stars than there are in the sky. @ Well, one of my goals at EPA is to help produce more Energy Stars than there ever were at MGM and at all the other studios combined.

After all, every Energy Star we award and every Energy Star product someone purchases helps reduce pollution and leads to cleaner air. Taken together, all those Energy Stars are making for clearer skies for our children and grandchildren.

So congratulations on this accomplishment and thank you for your leadership. I am proud of the work we are doing together and look forward to building on the success we are recognizing today.

Thank you.