Administrator Gina McCarthy, Remarks at ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Awards, as Prepared


Thanks for having me. This is pretty amazing. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m an energy-efficiency-nut. I’m convinced that energy efficiency is the gift that keeps on giving. That’s just part of the reason I love ENERGY STAR. You want to know another reason I love Energy Star? Because you love ENERGY STAR. ENERGY STAR is a flagship example of how sound science and smart policy can squeeze carbon pollution out of our products and services—while delivering huge energy and financial savings.

That’s the power of our little blue label. The benefits of efficiency don’t play favorites. They’re within everyone’s reach—and I mean everyone. Just look at our partners: retailers, school districts, hospitals, utilities, industrial plants, grocery stores, companies that make airplanes and rockets, auto makers, appliance manufacturers—the truth is, I’d be here all day if I named every sector; basically, if you can turn it on, you can make it more efficient.

The diversity in awardees, and the diversity in progress, represent the enormous scale and scope of our opportunity to ratchet up efficiency, and cut even more carbon pollution, and save even more money. It means there’s a lot of room to expand your operations and budgets, because when the efficiency snowball gets bigger, so do the benefits that come with it—for a healthy economy and a healthy environment.

I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. The real reason we’re here is to celebrate you – the cream of the crop. The big kahunas. The top dogs. The awardees here have helped make ENERGY STAR the most successful voluntary energy efficiency movement in history.

8 in 10 Americans recognize ENERGY STAR labels. In about two decades: ENERGY STAR has helped save over $300 billion on utility bills—while slashing more than 2.5 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. And in 2014 alone—millions of consumers, and 16,000 partners like you, reduced their utility bills by $34 billion.

The winners in this room are brands we all recognize: Pepsi, JC Penney, Kohl’s, Verizon, Best Buy, and the list goes on. You can probably tell how pumped I am about efficiency by now, so you’ll believe me when I say, I wish I could spend way more time bragging about each and every one of you. You’re doing incredible work: benchmarking 100% of your building portfolios; stocking and selling ENERGY STAR appliances; transforming the market; and educating millions.

These are extraordinary accomplishments, and at the same time they demonstrate that ordinary people – owners, employees, customers, tenants, students, can make a difference. I want to call out just a few highlights:

JC Penney sponsors an energy efficiency internship program, along with Kenton County Schools in Kentucky. The Kenton County School District has 12 ENERGY STAR certified schools.

Expert companies like Eastman Chemical Company, Corning, Raytheon, and Cal Portland are forming a “dream team” to train new industrial energy managers.

Energy expenses are a major housing cost for low-income families, and ENERGY STAR-certified homes save money for those who need it most. Monthly utility bills in ENERGY STAR certified Habitat for Humanity homes average just $78 for a 1,200-square-foot home, saving families $840 a year. Can you believe it? That’s incredible.

Last year, so many of you made groundbreaking advances in technology. Both Whirpool and LG introduced innovative ENERGY STAR certified washers and dryers that cut energy use in half and shorten laundry cycles. Who says we can’t have it all?

And DirectTV’s receiver-less Genie DVR reduces consumer energy use by 40%. All 12 million DirecTV receivers purchased last year were ENERGY STAR certified. When you add it all up, that saves their customers more than 100 million dollars a year.

And last but not least, you guys are finding creative ways to communicate the connection between efficiency and climate action—with videos, tweets, posts, blogs, and more.

For example: Verizon Wireless shows off which of its stores are Energy Star certified, when customers go online.

LG ran a special PSA in Times Square calling for young people to join LG and Team ENERGY STAR in the fight against climate change…and reached 18 million viewers.

It’s so important to connect the dots for your customers—because your products are where people interact with energy. That’s where they can see, feel, and buy into the value of climate action and energy efficiency.

So, congratulations again to our Partner of the Year Award winners. The winners in this room represent the engine of our economy. Americans purchased more than 320 million ENERGY STAR certified products in 2014 across more than 70 categories. The winners in this room represent families looking to save money on their bills. More than 86,000 new homes earned the ENERGY STAR in 2014, alone. And the winners in this room, are committed to greening our built environment. On average, Energy Star-labeled buildings use 35 percent less energy and generate 35 percent fewer GHG emissions.

I’ve rattled off a lot of numbers, but here’s the bottom line: energy efficiency is a good bet, every-time. For every-one. Sometimes, it might not be the flashiest investment, but it’s the surest. We know it has huge potential; that’s why energy efficiency is a crucial part of EPA’s Clean Power Plan to cut carbon pollution from our power sector. Utilities that partner with us on Energy Star, are already leading the way on the efficiency strategies we all want to capitalize on, to keep energy reliable and affordable while we transition to a low-carbon future.

Energy efficiency is a proven strategy to protect a healthy environment, and grow a healthy economy. Communities know it. States know it. Businesses know it, and thanks to all of you, our families know it, and take the savings to the bank. Climate action isn’t just a moral obligation we must accept—but an economic opportunity we can seize, to unleash investment and innovation in cleaner, more efficient technologies and practices that will build a 21st century economy. That’s why this program, and partners like you, are so important. Because for all of us out there talking the talk—all of you are walking the walk. Congratulations, and thanks again.