President’s Budget Supports Energy Efficiency; House Takes ‘One-Size-Fits-All’ Approach, Alliance Says

Release Date: Monday, February 14, 2011

Washington, D.C., February 14, 2011 – “As energy efficiency advocates, we at the Alliance to Save Energy believe that the Obama Administration’s FY 2012 budget proposal will allow our nation to unleash the power of energy efficiency to help drive the economic recovery we all long for, while also extending a helping hand to those American families and businesses struggling to lower their energy costs,” said Alliance President Kateri Callahan. 

Better Buildings Initiative, Cutting-Edge Research

The president’s plan strengthens the commercial buildings programs with the proposed Better Buildings Initiative (BBI). That program would prompt energy efficiency upgrades to commercial buildings that are projected to save building owners and operators roughly $40 billion each year for the next decade and would offer financial incentives to encourage municipalities around the country, as well as to make energy- and money-saving upgrades.

“The president’s FY 2012 budget acknowledges that investments in energy efficiency, such as the proposed doubling of investment in a program for cutting-edge energy research to spur energy technology innovations, save American consumers and businesses big money in avoided energy costs. The budget also recognizes that making our economy more efficient makes us less dependent on foreign sources of energy and more competitive in the global marketplace, and that investments in energy efficiency help us to preserve our national energy and water resources and protect our environment,” Callahan said.

Energy Star

The Alliance also supports the Obama budget’s proposed $3 million increase, to $56 million, for EPA’s Energy Star program for enhanced compliance and verification of Energy Star products. The Alliance noted that under the House’s proposed budget cuts for the current fiscal year, the Energy Star program would sustain a drastic 20 percent funding cut from its $52.1 million 2010 appropriation

“In 2009, utility bill savings resulting from the Energy Star Program were $17 billion, or about 300 times the program’s yearly appropriation,” Callahan pointed out. “The program’s benefits for taxpayers so greatly outweigh its costs that to cut it would come at significant expense to American consumers’ pocketbooks and American businesses’ competitiveness.

House's Unwieldy Budget Axe

“With the economy still struggling to recover from the worst recession in 50 years,” Callahan said, “we are stunned that the House leadership appears willing to seemingly wield the budget axe so indiscriminately. Of course we need to cut spending. Of course we need to address our deficit. But it should be intuitive to every policy maker on Capitol Hill that we need surgical strikes, not wholesale gutting of cost-effective, job-creating programs such as those in the energy efficiency arena. 

“Moreover,” Callahan continued, “the enormous cuts in energy efficiency and other clean energy programs that the House has proposed for the current fiscal year are ‘chump change’ in terms of overall government spending and won’t make any meaningful difference to our current deficit situation. What they will do, to our nation’s detriment, is rob American families of savings in avoided energy costs, dry up private sector investments in cost-effective energy efficiency technologies that are being stimulated by federal funding and tend to consign us to the ‘back of the pack’ for decades to come in the global race for economic dominance in the energy sector.”

For More Info

Our news article offers White House fact sheets on the budget, as well as Callahan's comments on video and in an energy blog.