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Don’t Let the Federal Energy Star Shutdown Impact Your Winter Energy Bill

The federal government shutdown, which is now the longest in history, is poised to impact many sectors the longer it continues. One sector already being impacted is the energy industry – and customers are the ones who could pay the price.

Everyone who has bought an appliance may recognize the yellow Energy Star ratings sticker that gives important details about the efficiency of the unit. Energy Star is a government-run agency overseen jointly by the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) and the Department of Energy, the EPA is among those agencies that are part of the shutdown.

It’s bad enough that employees who monitor energy efficiency are now out of work because of the shutdown, or on furlough. But adding insult to injury for energy consumers is that the Energy Star program is now also shutdown, along with the EPA. The agency’s website, EnergyStar.gov, includes extensive data on energy standards, efficiency, industry news and other useful information for businesses and homeowners and has also been shut down.

When the federal government shutdown first occurred, visitors to the site saw only this message: “The US federal government is closed due to a lapse in appropriations. For the duration of the US government shutdown, all Energy Star tools, resources, and data services will not be available.” Today, the site is completely gone and visitors see only an error message.

With the site down, there’s now a serious lack of available information for developers, contractors, homeowners and others seeking to choose the best appliances, insulation, windows, doors, lighting and other items that have the highest energy standards. The energy industry will feel the pain as well.

In addition to EnergyStar.gov being shut down, there are questions as to how the shutdown could impact the solar industry. Will federally-backed rebates be processed? Will there be delays? Will policy decisions be on hold? All of these issues impact the bottom line for many developers, large and small, as these subsidy programs are often essential to construction projects, both residential and commercial.

With this lack of available information, energy consultants such as Patriot Energy Group can be of assistance in helping make these important money-saving decisions. But the longer the shutdown lingers, the more the energy industry, like so many other industries, will feel the effects.

With winter now in full swing, energy bills are a top concern for many, especially those of us in cold weather states. It’s extremely important that energy efficiency remains a priority and that standards don’t lapse during the shutdown. Contractors, developers, business owners and others shouldn’t fly blind during this shutdown and should consult an energy expert to make sure they are getting the most up-to-date information available to improve efficiency, conserve energy and save money.

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