Bush pushes Energy Star

Energy Star Web site

Government workers aren't supposed to sleep on the job, but the president says their computers should.

President Bush said federal offices should be equipped with computers that automatically shut down when they are not being used.

"My dream is to have desktop computers all across our government with the latest [energy-saving] devices," Bush said in a June 28 address to Energy Department employees.

"When the computer is off or on standby, the energy supply being used is reduced by sevenfold. That's necessary. It is the right step for our federal government to set the example," Bush said.

Stymied in his efforts to increase drilling for oil and digging for other fossil fuels, the president is repackaging his energy program with increased emphasis on conservation.

In addition to calling for energy-efficient office technology, Bush promised to aggressively promote the Energy Star program, introduced in 1993 by President Clinton.

Administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, the program awards insignias featuring a globe and a star to appliances that meet efficiency standards. "The Energy Star [program] is a great way for the federal government to enter into a partnership with consumer product producers," Bush said. It will help "millions of Americans who want to make the right choices" when buying electrical appliances, he said.

When the program was new, many federal agencies opted to buy only computers with the Energy Star insignia. But many government users found the automatic shut-down features annoying and disabled them. In his Energy Department address, Bush warned of energy "vampires"—appliances that consume energy even when they are turned off. He cited TV sets that come on instantly and wireless phone chargers as being among the appliances that "eat energy" even when they are not being used. Such "vampire devices use about 4 percent of the electricity in the average home," the president said.

Bush said he would make $85.7 million available for federal grants to encourage faster development of fuel cells, advanced engines, hydro-technology and efficient appliances. The grant money partially restores conservation-research cuts Bush made in his 2002 budget proposal.

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