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Clean Air Act

Progress Cleaning the Air: Voluntary Partnership Program Accomplishments

Voluntary Clean Air Act partnership programs reduce conventional air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy efficiency, reduce oil imports, and save consumers money.

EPA voluntary partnership programs work in tandem with regulatory programs to protect public health and the environment. Through these programs, EPA helps businesses, the public and governments take actions that reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and conventional air pollutants, and protect people from exposure to pollution-caused harm. Many of these programs have additional benefits such as improving energy efficiency, reducing oil imports, and saving consumers money. Authority for these programs is provided by the Clean Air Act and, in some cases, other legislation.

This page highlights accomplishments of selected partnership programs. For more Information on these and other EPA partnership programs, see the “Related Links” on this page.

Climate Protection Partnership Programs Accomplishments

Since 1992, EPA's climate protection partnership programs have partnered with consumers and organizations throughout America to implement practical, cost-effective solutions for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) and other pollutant emissions. Through cutting-edge investments in technologies and practices, these programs are helping to clean the air, improving our health and strengthening our economy while tackling the challenges of climate change. Strong results demonstrate the continued success of the multiple climate protection partnership programs, including ENERGY STAR, clean energy, methane and fluorinated greenhouse gas programs:

  • More than 23,000 partners across the country have joined EPA in its efforts to reduce GHG emissions.
  • These partnership programs have prevented more than 368 million metric tons of GHG emissions (measured in CO2-equivalent tons). This is equivalent to the emissions from 72 million vehicles - with a net savings to consumers and businesses of about $24 billion in 2011 alone.
  • The partnership programs have prevented more than 3,160 MMTCO2e of GHG emissions cumulatively through 2011 and have provided net savings to consumers and businesses of more than $200 billion due to the investments made.
  • The partnership programs have spurred investments of about $113 billion in energy-efficient, climate-friendly technologies though 2011.

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Smartway Transport Program Accomplishments

SmartWay Transport is the EPA's flagship program for improving fuel efficiency and reducing greenhouse gases and air pollution from the transportation supply chain industry. SmartWay Transport is composed of partnerships, policy and technical solutions, and research and evaluation projects that find new ways to optimize the transportation networks in a company's supply chain by implementing programs that lower emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and particulate matter (PM).To date, the partnership includes nearly 2,900 companies and associations committed to improving fuel efficiency. Prior to the first-ever 2014-18 GHG truck standards, this program was the only EPA program targeted at greenhouse gas truck emissions. SmartWay Transport will continue to provide complementary reductions to those achieved through the new heavy-duty vehicle GHG rule.

Since 2004, SmartWay Partners report:

  • Saving 55 million barrels of fuel ($6.5 billion in fuel costs saved)
  • Eliminating 23.6 million metric tons of CO2
  • Eliminating 478,000 tons of NOx
  • Eliminating 22,000 tons of PM

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Clean Diesel Grants Accomplishments

Clean diesel projects can reduce air pollution from older school buses, transit buses, heavy-duty diesel trucks, marine engines, locomotives, and other diesel engines. Since 2008, EPA has funded nearly 60,000 pieces of clean diesel technology through the National Clean Diesel Campaign. In April 2012, EPA announced the availability of up to $20 million in FY 2012 grant funding to establish clean diesel projects aimed at reducing harmful pollution from the nation's existing fleet of diesel engines and improving air quality and Americans' health. In addition to these grants, approximately $9 million will be available through direct state allocations. EPA estimates that for every $1 spent on clean diesel funding up to $13 of public health benefit is realized. States, tribes, local governments, and non-profits are eligible to apply for these grants. By providing grants for voluntary retrofits and replacements of older engines, and implementing Clean Air Act standards for new trucks and engines, EPA is seeking to comprehensively address the nation's diesel fleet.

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Action on Asthma Accomplishments

In May 2012, EPA and other federal agencies unveiled the Coordinated Federal Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Asthma Disparities. Nearly 26 million Americans are affected by this chronic respiratory disease, including 7 million children, especially minority children and children with family incomes below the poverty level. Asthma rates of African American children are currently at 16 percent, while 16.5 percent of Puerto Rican children suffer from the chronic respiratory disease, more than double the rate experienced by Caucasian children in the United States. The Coordinated Federal Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Asthma Disparities along with the Communities in Action Exit EPA Disclaimer asthma campaign are reducing risk in lieu of regulations, while also helping to support National Ambient Air Quality Standards implementation guidance and regulations.

<Learn more> (24 pp, 1.2M, About PDF)

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Burn Wise Partnership Program Accomplishments

EPA's Burn Wise Partnership Program emphasizes ways to reduce air pollution by burning the right wood, the right way, in the right wood-burning appliance to protect your home, health, and the air we breathe. Burn Wise activities include:

  • Providing information for consumers to make informed decisions to reduce emissions from wood stoves, fireplaces and other residential wood-burning appliances that contribute to air pollution. EPA encourages the public to speed replacement of old and inefficient equipment, and to use wood-burning techniques that minimize emissions from new and existing equipment.
  • Collaborating with states, tribes and local agencies to improve community air quality through education and to replace dirtier wood-burning equipment with cleaner-burning technologies (e.g., gas, EPA-certified wood stoves).
  • Partnering with manufacturers through volunteer programs to bring cleaner-burning appliances to market.

EPA's hydronic heater partnership encourages manufacturers to design cleaner and more efficient hydronic heater models, and EPA's wood-burning fireplace partnership encourages fireplace manufacturers to develop cleaner-burning fireplaces for consumers. These voluntary efforts set qualifying emission levels for new hydronic heaters and fireplaces. To date, 35 hydronic heater models and 23 wood fireplace models have qualified at EPA's voluntary emission level.

EPA estimates that these collaborations and partnerships have resulted in more than 24,000 older wood stoves and fireplaces being replaced or retrofitted in 50 communities, resulting in approximately 3,700 tons of fine particle emissions reduced each year and an estimated $135-329 million per year in health benefits.

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Partnership Program Highlight
Partnership Program Highlight: AgSTAR

AgSTAR is an outreach and educational program that promotes the recovery and use of methane from animal manure. The AgSTAR Program has been very successful in encouraging the development and adoption of anaerobic digestion technology. Since the establishment of the program in 1994, the number of operational digester systems has grown to 176 systems across the United States. This growth has produced significant environmental and energy benefits, including in 2011 alone, approximately 541,000 MWh equivalent of energy generation.

Partnership Program Highlight: GreenChill

EPA's GreenChill Partnership works with the supermarket industry to reduce refrigerant emissions that harm the ozone layer and contribute to climate change. Supermarket refrigerant emissions are approximately 2,000 to 4,000 times more potent global warmers than carbon dioxide. Supermarkets leak about 35 million pounds of these refrigerants annually. GreenChill has three programs: the Corporate Emissions Reduction Program, the Store Certification Program, and the Advanced Refrigeration Program. They help supermarkets transition to environmentally friendlier refrigerants, reduce the amount of refrigerant used, eliminate refrigerant leaks, and adopt green refrigeration technologies and best environmental practices. GreenChill's Corporate Emissions Reduction Program currently has 54 partners - over 20 percent of the supermarket industry. Stores that achieve GreenChill's certification emit at least 65 percent less refrigerant than a typical store. In 2011, GreenChill (16 pp, 3.2M, About PDF)partners prevented emissions of 6.21 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. That's the same climate benefit as taking 1.2 million cars off the road for one year.

Partnership Program Highlight: ENERGY STAR

The ENERGY STAR program has been instrumental in identifying cost-effective, innovative solutions for reducing GHG emissions since it was launched by EPA in 1992. The program advances widespread adoption of energy efficiency by serving as a trusted source of unbiased information to help Americans make choices that are good for the environment and the economy. Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, prevented 221 million metric tons of GHG emissions in 2011 alone-equivalent to the annual emissions from 43 million vehicles-and reduced their utility bills by more than $23 billion.
<Learn more> (4 pp, 539K, About PDF)

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