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Govt Saving Taxpayers' Dollars On Energy

The Government is saving taxpayers' dollars and cutting greenhouse gas emissions by strengthening public sector leadership in energy efficiency, Energy Minister and Convenor of the Ministerial Group on Climate Change Pete Hodgson said today.

Under the Government Energy Efficiency Leadership Programme, larger publicly-funded organisations will sign an energy efficiency agreement with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA). Participants are expected to include the defence forces, police, hospitals, tertiary education providers and Crown Research Institutes. This will broaden the current programme from 34 Government departments to potentially include all public sector organisations with annual energy bills of over $100,000.

"The goal is to achieve 15% energy savings from the public sector by 2005," Mr Hodgson said. "This equates to annual energy cost savings of $14 million and CO2 reductions of over 100,000 tonnes a year. This is Government leading by example.”

Mr Hodgson said the Cabinet had also approved mandatory energy performance labels for appliances, as a further measure to improve energy efficiency and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The labels would be introduced next year, together with minimum energy performance standards approved earlier this year.

"We will end up with a scheme very similar to the standards and labelling already successfully in place in Australia. There is a lot of overlap in our appliance markets, and a common approach makes sense."

Mr Hodgson said there would be public consultation before regulations are passed to make standards and labelling mandatory.

Labelling will apply to whiteware including fridges, freezers, dishwashers, clothes driers, washing machines and domestic air conditioners. The labels will let consumers compare how much energy the appliances use. Performance standards will cover domestic electric hot water cylinders and fluorescent lighting. A study will begin shortly of the costs and benefits of expanding the range of products covered.

“MEPS will remove the worst energy-guzzling appliances from the market, saving consumers money and reducing CO2 emissions,” Mr Hodgson said.


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