After two years of curious attacks on everything from money-saving lightbulbs to fuel-saving car and truck standards, Republicans on the Energy and Commerce committee today showed signs of reversing course, holding a subcommittee hearing on the successes and opportunities in energy efficiency. Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), a senior member of the committee and an author of several major energy efficiency laws, today said that he hoped this signaled a new course for energy efficiency in Congress. Rep. Markey also praised the work of companies in the pay-TV industry for their improvements to the efficiency of set-top boxes.
"Energy efficiency is called the low-hanging fruit of the energy world, and my hope is that this hearing will serve as an olive branch from the Republicans on these issues. Instead of misguided and misinformed wars on compact fluorescent lightbulbs, we should be exploring what new compacts we can pass in Congress to save Americans money, cut pollution, and power our economy in smarter ways," said Rep. Markey.
"I commend the pay-TV industry for working cooperatively in a competitive marketplace to take the initiative in voluntarily adopting the Set-Top Box Energy Conservation Agreement," continued Rep. Markey. "In the rapidly changing telecommunications space, this strong industry-led efficiency agreement can deliver meaningful near-term energy savings while laying a foundation for future innovation and efficiency improvements. I am pleased that the industry has taken this step in the absence of congressional action to address energy efficiency in this important area and encourage it to continue exploring new ways to make even greater strides in the future as technology evolves."
Under the set-top box agreement, at least 90 percent of all new set-top boxes purchased and deployed after 2013 will meet the Environmental Protection Agency's ENERGY STAR 3.0 efficiency levels, in effect taking a standard designed for the top 25 percent of set-top boxes and making it the standard across the industry.
Rep. Markey was a lead author of laws to create mandatory minimum appliance efficiency standards for refrigerators and freezers, air conditioners, water heaters, furnaces, dishwashers, clothes washers, clothes dryers, electric motors, and other consumer products. He was also the House author of the fuel economy standards included in the 2007 energy bill that now will require America's cars and trucks to achieve 54.5 miles per gallon.