There’s a lot to like about the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star rating, from that cool 1980s baseball-logo label to the general idea of quantifying and incentivizing things that are more efficient than other things. So it was naturally kind of a bummer a few weeks ago when congressional auditors punched some holes in Energy Star’s product-certification program by succeeding in getting Energy Star certification for a few very clownish imaginary products. That whole story is kind of weird — when did the Congress hire spittle-based conservo-nihilist prankster/living nightmare Andrew Breitbart as lead auditor? — and kind of very very embarrassing, but it doesn’t do much to diminish Energy Star’s standing as a building-evaluation tool in gbNYC’s mind. There’s a lot to like in Energy Star’s insistence on grading buildings on actual performance, rather than pre-construction design, and so it’s still pretty meaningful when the Energy Star label is used on something having to do with green building. And therefore it’s pretty meaningful to see that NYSERDA has won its fifth straight Sustained Excellence Award from the EPA/Energy Star and also been recognized with Energy Star’s 2010 Leadership in Housing Award in recognition of NYSERDA’s Energy Star Homes program. That’s in large part because, unlike the gasoline-alarm-clock gotcha thing, this actually makes a lot of sense.
The above-linked piece on the Leadership in Housing Award is pretty ghastly, writing-wise — although those who love tarted-up press releases with Official Quotes might like it — but the achievements it describes are as real as its literary shortcomings. NYSERDA’s Energy Star Homes program has built 16,000 Energy Star homes in New York State since 2001 and retrofitted another 28,000, and that’s certainly reason to celebrate. This would ordinarily be the place where I issue my usual qualifications about even the most energy-efficient suburban home being far less efficient than a residence in the city, and mention embodied efficiency and all kinds of other stuff, but I’ve had a longish day and you already know that. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to find out how I can get a government job as a prankster.