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Vendors, Dealers Get EPA Nod

Seven white-goods retailers and manufacturers received recognition from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) last week for their outstanding contributions in reducing greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency.

All seven — Sears, Lowe’s, The Home Depot, GE, Maytag, Panasonic and Whirlpool — were cited within the Excellence in Efficient Products category, and all are members of Energy Star, a voluntary, market-based partnership created by the EPA in 1992 to reduce air pollution through increased energy efficiency.

In addition, Sears was singled out as the lone 2005 recipient of the Excellence in Appliance Retailing award for its leadership in promoting Energy Star-qualified appliances. Sears sold more than 3.7 million such majaps last year, representing a 35 percent increase over 2003.

The retailer achieved that goal by lowering price points on qualified Kenmore products and by featuring the Energy Star logo in print ads that totaled 35 billion impressions. Price points for Kenmore-branded Energy Star products start at $199 for dishwashers and $570 for washers before sales promotions.

“We worked hard on multiple fronts to bring Energy Star qualified appliances to a broader cross-section of Americans, and we’re very proud of the fact that no other retailer sells more Energy Star rated appliances than Sears,” said Tina Settecase, the chain’s VP/general manager of home appliances.

Among manufacturers, GE’s Consumer & Industrial division was lauded for more than doubling its energy-efficient product investment in major appliances to more than $56 million last year, and for increasing the percentage of Energy Star-qualified appliances in its assortment by 37 percent from 2003. Currently, 61 percent of the entire GE appliance line is qualified under the program.

In addition, Whirlpool was named Energy Star Partner of the Year, the sixth time the company has been so awarded for its support of the program. “Whirlpool is once again honored to be named an Energy Star partner,” said Dave Swift, Whirlpool’s executive VP, North America region. “Our … portfolio of brands offers a broad range of Energy Star-qualified appliances, which customers are increasingly looking for to help them lower utility bills and protect the environment.”

According to the EPA and DOE, the Energy Star program helped Americans save $8 billion in utility bills and enough energy to power 20 million homes, while reducing air pollution equivalent to the emissions from 18 million cars.

Winners were recognized last week at an awards ceremony held here at the Capital Hilton.