The House Appropriations Committee has added a provision to the economic stimulus package that earmarks $300 million for Energy Star rebates.
The provision provides the funding necessary to implement the consumer rebate program, which was authorized under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to encourage households to replace their appliances with more energy-efficient models. The program is administered by individual states.
The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), the white-goods industry trade group, lauded the move and urged Congress and President Obama to enact the measure.
“Funding this federal-state appliance rebate program will benefit consumers by reducing the cost of Energy Star appliances and provide them with additional discretionary income by way of reduced utility bills,” said AHAM president Joseph McGuire. “The energy savings and climate benefits are also significant. It’s a practical, effective public policy measure at this time. Retiring older, less-efficient appliances with Energy Star products is the single, most cost-effective step a consumer can take to save money and energy.”
According to AHAM, if every household in California alone upgraded to Energy Star appliances, residents would save more than $1.2 billion in utility costs per year. The consumer rebate would offset the cost differential between Energy Star and non- Energy Star-rated appliances such as refrigerator-freezers, dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers, AHAM argued, and these savings, coupled with the lifetime energy savings, would more than pay for the total investment in the new appliances.
What’s more, by replacing appliances with Energy Star appliances, California alone would save more than 10 billion kilowatt hours per year, the trade group calculated.