The Subtle Fruits of Partnership

Christopher Hankin photo

Last summer the U.S. EPA and ITI jointly convened a road-mapping workshop on the ENERGY STAR program.   Both groups recognize the unique nature of information and communication technologies (ICT) -- their complexity, their rapid evolution, their global nature, and their interplay with so many other products in the emerging “network of things.”  And, consequently, we both saw value in co-hosting an informal brainstorming dialogue about ENERGY STAR’s near-term future for both ICT products and for ICT-enabled solutions.  This idea came out of several meetings we had held earlier in the year with Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy.  
 
As Dean Garfield wrote of that workshop, “without fanfare, EPA officials, policy experts, business leaders, and engineers sat together to identify opportunities to advance the next technologies to save consumers money while sustaining the planet.”  ITI and EPA both felt like the workshop was a success due to the tone of the conversation and its substance.
 
It was not a conversation, however, that ended with that single event.  Rather, participants agreed to continue their discussions along three tracks through the fall and into this winter.  They did so with the agreed intent to:

  • Build on 20 years of partnership, including the pioneering spirit that originally launched the ENERGY STAR products program, to foster the future success of the ENERGY STAR program for information and communications technologies;
  • Look ahead creatively, with the goal of realizing both continued international harmonization in relevant energy efficiency programs, and further engagement between the program and ICT manufacturers on an ongoing basis; and,
  • Post “Informing Documents” that highlight discussions and recommendations provided by a range of stakeholders across the three tracks.

These “Informing Documents” were posted earlier today on the EPA website.   All three are informative and provocative, especially for those of us deeply engaged in this work.   These documents will help to ground our future interactions and activities as regards ENERGY STAR with a greater foundation of shared mission and trust.  This is not the stuff of front page articles, Sunday talk shows, or political blogs.  Instead, they are the subtle fruits of partnership -- of the U.S. government, the tech industry, and other relevant stakeholders working together to ensure continued American leadership in this important arena.

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