At a time when Energy Star may be on the chopping block, a newcomer is making its entrance, and the timing is completely coincidental.
In mid-July, the House Appropriations Committee voted to pass the Fiscal Year 2018 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill, part of which would cut Energy Star funding 40 percent. The Trump administration, in its preliminary budget, had originally called for completely defunding Energy Star and transferring it to a non-governmental operator.
Coincidentally, this same month, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) announced the first concrete step in its Extended Motor Product Label Initiative (EMPLI), a program it launched three years ago to create an Energy Star-like label for commercial and industrial products, initially focused on pumps, air compressors, and fans, and possibly drives later on.
In late July, the ACEEE announced that, "We're on the cusp of making that goal a reality." The Hydraulic Institute and its pump manufacturing members have created a "Pump Energy Rating" label that will provide information on pumps the same way Energy Star's EnergyGuide provides energy saving information on home appliances.
The ACEEE noted that, since the Hydraulic Institute developed its rating and labeling system with the input of energy efficiency program administrators, it can also become the basis for new prescriptive rebate programs.
"Just as savings programs provided per-horsepower rebates for high-efficiency motors in the past, new programs will be able to do the same for pumps, fans, and air compressors in the future," the ACEEE stated.
In addition, the Hydraulic Institute has created a database with information on all tested and certified products, and the Northwest Regional Technical Forum has approved savings estimation methods for many of these products.
Furthermore, the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance is working with software developers to create an online marketplace called the "Extended Motor Product Marketplace" (XMP MP), where all certified products can be listed and energy efficiency programs can list the features and details of their programs. This will allow wholesalers and project developers in the commercial and industrial sectors to see if their clients are eligible for incentives, as well as apply for and receive them. The program will be national in scope.
At this point, again, the EMPLI is focusing solely on commercial and industrial products. However, if the government's Energy Star program is defunded, there is certainly room for the private sector to create a similar program on the residential side.