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Energy Star Awards, Washington, D.C.

Remarks of Governor Christine Todd Whitman,
Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency,
at the
Energy Star Awards
Washington, D.C.

March 20, 2001

Thank you, Kathleen (Hogan), for that introduction. Good evening and welcome to Washington.

The organizations we are recognizing tonight come from all over the United States – companies of every size in a wide variety of businesses. There’s one thing, however, they all have in common – a noteworthy commitment to our Energy Star program. That makes all of them corporate stars in my book.

Each of tonight’s award recipients is helping set the pace for the rest of America’s business community. Because of their voluntary efforts to manufacture and sell energy efficient products, save energy in their workplaces, and educate consumers about the benefits of energy efficiency, they are all partners in environmental protection.

Energy is much on the minds of the American people these days. The situation in California has certainly provided a real wake-up call for the rest of the nation. I am serving on the energy task force that President Bush formed in the first days of his Administration, and we are developing the comprehensive energy policy America needs. Of course, I don’t need to tell the people here that energy conservation is an important part of any smart business plan.

Last year alone, Energy Star products and practices saved enough energy to power 2 million homes at peak time. Those savings not only contribute to smarter use of electricity and improve our quality of living, they also help preserve our environment, by reducing the need for power generation. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions because of Energy Star savings in the year 2000 was the equivalent of eliminating emissions from 10 million cars.

Since President George H.W. Bush kicked off the Energy Star program in 1992, it has generated more than $11 billion in investments in energy efficient technologies. These days it seems there are almost as many products carrying the Energy Star logo as there are stars in the sky – stars, by the way, that are more visible in a clearer sky because Energy Star helps improve air quality.

To date, more than 600 million Energy Star products have been purchased in America, from the computer on which my remarks were prepared to the refrigerator in which I keep my lunch.

I’m proud that more than 7,000 organizations participate in Energy Star, including more than 500 retailers with 7,000 storefronts, 1,600 manufacturers, another 1,600 homebuilders, and thousands of other participants that have committed to upgrade the energy efficiency of the buildings and operations.

Those we are honoring tonight are the brightest stars in our Energy Star firmament. Since I can’t name all of them, I don’t want to single any out for special mention. But included among our honorees tonight are the largest landlord in Southern California, a retailer that sold over one million Energy Star appliances last year, a manufacturer whose product line has more than 400 different products that feature the Energy Star label, and a high tech company that has developed technology to make it easy for office equipment to meet Energy Star guidelines.

If every American consumer bought nothing but Energy Star products, American families would save a total of $100 billion in energy costs over the next decade. If every building owner performed recommend, cost-effective Energy Star upgrades, another $130 billion would be saved over the same ten years.

But as we like to say about Energy Star, “Money isn’t all you’re saving,” although even in Washington potential savings of $230 billion is impressive. Energy Star is making America cleaner for our children and grandchildren. It is helping us meet our obligation to leave our environment better than we found it – and it is doing so in a way that should become the norm for how we meet our environmental challenges in America.

Under President Bush’s leadership, we are entering a new era of environmental protection. This era will be marked by partnerships among all those who effect and are concerned about the environment. Energy Star is a good example of how these partnerships will work. But programs like it have been the exception, not the rule. It’s time to change that. We now have the opportunity to bring people together in pursuit of common environmental goals.

My main mission as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency is to build those partnerships, to find the common ground, and to bring together all the stakeholders around common goals – cleaner air, purer water, better protected land. We are ready to move beyond the days of command and control from Washington. We are ready to work together across traditional boundaries to improve and protect America’s environment.

Our Energy Star partners have been the advance guard of this new era. So let me thank all of tonight’s recipients. You are truly stellar corporate citizens, leaders who know the benefits of partnership. I hope you will continue to build on your already strong commitment to Energy Star and will join with me in seeking to expand its success far and wide.

Thank you.