'Energy Star' energy efficiency labels on appliances to be dumped
The Energy Star label, that gives buyers a guide to which appliances have excellent energy efficiency, is to be dumped by the end of the year.
Energy Minister Judith Collins confirmed the move on Thursday, saying she had agreed with officials' advice that the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) programme should end.
The EECA Board decided on March 28 to exit Energy Star - a voluntary endorsement labelling programme - based on a review of programmes in 2016, Collins said.
"The review showed that the Energy Star spending was not effective and the return on the investment was low. Based on the findings of the review I agreed with officials' advice that the programme should be discontinued and I expressed that view to the Board in my letter of expectations."
"Compared to the Energy Rating label which will continue, the Energy Star programme has become less relevant," she said.
The programme had been running since 2005.
EECA licensed the label from the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States, but it was increasingly getting lost in "a crowded label market" EECA's Efficient Products Manager Eddie Thompson said.
A recent review showed consumers preferred using the Energy Rating Label, which lets them compare running costs and was more influential.
"Energy Star was a great addition to EECA's tool box back when we started using it in 2005. In 2017 we have regulation to remove the worst performing products from the market," Thompson said.
Regulation now covered 24 products and appliances compared to 12 in 2005.
EECA was developing an online tool to provide information about the most energy efficient products regulated in New Zealand.
He said Energy Star was reviewed as part of a routine assessment.
Public awareness of it was high but it did not have a significant influence on purchasing decisions and energy savings.
Investment in the programme was "minimal" between 2005 and 2010, but there were higher levels of promotion between 2010 and 2016 that saw an average spend of up to $700,000 a year.
Meanwhile under United States President Donald Trump's proposed budget, the EPA-administered Energy Star programme, in which 16,000 companies and organisations participated, will lose its funding.
The Los Angeles Times said Energy Star, set up in 1992, has been "a pillar of the federal government's effort to fight climate change". It was also cheap and effective.
According to the EPA it had prevented 2.7 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emission and saved consumers US$430 billion in energy bills at an annual cost of about US$57 million (NZ$80m)..