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Voluntary Programs Report Big Environmental Gains in 2002

Release Date: 11/13/2003
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Contact: John Millett, 202-564-7842

(11/13/03) - Voluntary programs succeeded in reducing 43 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions in 2002 – over 10 percent more than 2001, according to EPA’s annual report on ENERGY STAR and other programs issued today. The greenhouse gas reductions are equivalent to eliminating the emissions from more than 28 million cars, showing that voluntary programs can be an extremely effective tool to protect public health and the environment.

“This dramatically demonstrates the power of personal choice,” said EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt. “From light bulbs to entire homes, people purchasing energy efficient products were able to protect the environment and save money. Our corporate partners, too, are demonstrating that helping the environment can help their bottom line.”

These voluntary climate change programs also include initiatives that develop clean energy solutions, increase the capture and use of methane gas, minimize emissions of other non-carbon dioxide gases, and provide opportunities for corporate commitments to develop long-term comprehensive climate change strategies. The report details the environmental and economic accomplishments of these programs and outlines goals for 2003 and beyond.

Highlights from the report include:
      • ENERGY STAR has developed strong partnerships with 1,250 manufacturers labeling more than 18,000 products in over 35 product categories. More than one billion ENERGY STAR labeled products have been purchased to date.
      • With ENERGY STAR, Americans saved more than $7 billion on their energy bills last year – enough energy to power 15 million homes and make a substantial reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
      • More than 3,000 builder partners constructed over 110,000 ENERGY STAR qualified homes to date, locking in financial savings for homeowners of more than $26 million annually.
      • EPA’s national energy performance rating system has been used to evaluate and benchmark the energy efficiency of more than 15,000 buildings so far. Evaluation and benchmarking are important tools to measure buildings’ energy performance and guide in future steps to improve efficiency. Of the 15,000 buildings evaluated, 1,100 buildings earned the ENERGY STAR in 2002. By square footage, 16 percent of office building space and 13 percent of schools, 20 percent of supermarkets, 21 percent of hospitals and 5 percent of hotels have been benchmarked.
      • Thirty-four companies joined the Climate Leaders Program since it was launched in early 2002. Seven companies announced aggressive greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals.
      • The Green Power Partnership 2002 with more than 90 partners totaled more than 500,000 megawatt hours (Mwh) of green power purchase commitments – including 250,000 Mwh from new renewable generation. Green power is electricity that is generated from resources such as solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and low-impact hydro facilities.
      • Partnership programs achieved reductions of non-carbon dioxide greenhouse gases – methane, perfluorocarbons (PFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) – totaled more than 18 million metric tons of carbon equivalent in 2002 alone. Partner actions are projected to maintain methane emissions below 1990 levels through 2012.
      • In addition to reducing greenhouse gas intensity, the wide array of partnership programs also prevented almost 150,000 tons of nitrogen oxide emissions, a reduction of 10,000 tons more than previous year.

Copies of the 2002 annual report, Change for the Better: ENERGY STAR and Other Voluntary Programs, are available by calling the Energy Star Hotline at 1-888-STAR-YES (1-888-782-7937) or at For information on climate change voluntary programs in the transportation sector (not included in this report) please visit: