A pat on the back for the ENERGY STAR brand was well deserved at this year’s Partners Meeting where attendees celebrated 20 years of the brand’s achievements in the market adoption of high efficiency products and billions of dollars and millions of metric tons of GHG emissions saved each year from ENERGY STAR products ($20 billion on utility bills and 195 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions in 2010 alone!). Whether it was looking back at ENERGY STAR’s humble beginnings in 1992, or looking forward to the opportunities and challenges in deeper energy savings, the important role of energy efficiency for the environment and the economy was a key message. The biggest take away from the meeting was that after two decades in the market, the ENERGY STAR brand still signifies a high quality product. The EPA recently began using Third Party Certification (3CP) when verifying a product’s eligibility for the ENERGY STAR logo. Therefore, the products are considered ENERGY STAR “certified” instead of ENERGY STAR “qualified”. Other proofs of ENERGY STAR’s commitment to quality arose during discussions concerning ENERGY STAR’s Most Efficient and TopTen USA. While the industry is eager to push the envelope on energy efficient products, the importance to ensure that these two standards are collaborative and not conflicting was strongly emphasized. It is evident that ENERGY STAR is willing to address challenging questions in order to demonstrate its leadership. NEEP’s Appliance Standards Project Manager, David Lis, spoke to the audience about Heat Pump Water Heaters (HPWH), an exciting example of an emerging technology that is generating impressive energy and costs savings. By highlighting HPWH, Lis provided broader commentary on the opportunities associated with transforming the electric water heater market. Lis also introduced the final draft of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic HPWH Regional Market Strategies Report, set to be published later this Fall. NEEP made sure key regional players were able to meet and discuss opportunities for establishing new, and building on from, successful partnerships. Staff arranged several regional breakout meetings for energy efficiency program administrators and leading industry product partners to discuss ways to maximize opportunities for growing the high efficiency product market in the Northeast. All our stakeholders - big box retailers, top manufactures, regional utility program administrators, and government officials – agreed that the priority is regional collaboration and consumer education. Partnership and consistent messaging is a key focus for all parties committed to building the energy efficient product market as a means to reduce energy consumption and costs. NEEP continues to help facilitate collaboration in the Northeast around building strong messaging and communication to the market on high efficient products. Whatever changes the industry faces in the year to come – the Energy Independence and Security Act updates, Lighting Label requirements, criteria revisions currently underway– it is clear that the industry will continue improving energy efficient products, and the market will continue to recognize and trust ENERGY STAR certified products. As always NEEP will continue to work with the EPA and all our trade allies and stakeholders to help push the market toward higher efficiency limits to bolster the economy and protect the environment. To find out more about the ENERGY STAR Partners Meeting visit the ENERGY STAR website. Next year’s 2013 ENERGY STAR Partner Meeting is tentatively planned for New Orleans October 7-9.