Maui Business

Hawai‘i Energy Earns National Recognition From US Environmental Protection Agency

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Hawai‘i Energy – the state’s Public Benefits Fund administrator – received the 2021 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year Award in Energy Efficiency Program Delivery, the highest level of recognition from the US Environmental Protection Agency.

ENERGY STAR® recognizes organizations across the US for implementing high-performing energy efficiency programs to improve the efficiency of products, homes and buildings within their community. Hawai‘i Energy was recognized for its residential and commercial programs and is the first organization in the state to receive the distinguished award.

“For more than a decade, Hawai‘i Energy has been committed to making energy efficiency more accessible and more affordable to Hawai‘i’s residents and local businesses,” said Brian Kealoha, executive director of Hawai‘i Energy. “We’re proud to be recognized for effectively rolling out new programs and expanding others to help customers deal with economic hardship and save a combined 328,000-megawatt hours of lifetime energy savings through installation of ENERGY STAR® certified products. We appreciate the vision and support from the Hawai‘i Public Utilities Commission to aggressively pursue energy efficiency to help families and businesses reduce their energy bills and reduce energy usage so Hawai‘i can reach its 100 percent clean energy mandate.” 

Hawai‘i Energy was recognized for the following programs that were designed to adopt ENERGY STAR® products and best practices:

  • Energy Relief Grant: Launched in 2020, Hawai‘i Energy has awarded more than $2 million in funding to local nonprofits, small businesses and other qualifying organizations that were experiencing economic loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to help purchase ENERGY STAR® products and cover other efficiency upgrades. The requests for funds exceeded the original budget by more than 300 percent, with ENERGY STAR® commercial kitchen equipment representing nearly 25 percent of projects. Participants are expected to reduce their energy consumption by more than 1,000,000 kilowatt hours combined.
  • Commercial Foodservice Equipment Rebate Program: Increased the focus on ENERGY STAR® commercial kitchen products by doubling rebates and increasing customer and distributor education. In 2020, the amount of commercial kitchen projects quadrupled and are estimated to save 414,000 kilowatt hours and $111,000 in bill savings for customers.
  • Home Energy Kits: In response to drastic changes in energy consumption due to COVID-19, Hawai‘i Energy facilitated the purchase and delivery of over 2,100 Home Energy Kits to local homes, which contained ENERGY STAR®-certified LED bulbs.
  • ENERGY STAR® Appliance Trade-up: Hawai‘i Energy provided appliances at reduced costs, through bulk-purchases with local suppliers, to communities identified as having geographic and/or socio-economic barriers to purchase and install energy-efficient equipment. Scaled up from 2019, the offer was made available to 3,500 additional households and led to the purchase of more than 200 appliances.

“The Public Utilities Commission congratulates Hawai’i Energy for this important recognition as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year,” said Jay Griffin, chair of the Public Utilities Commission. “Hawaii Energy has successfully served as our state’s Public Benefits Fee Administrator for over 10 years, and we especially commend the team for their significant role this COVID-impacted past year, during which they pivoted quickly and effectively to support economic recovery, while also addressing the immediate needs of Hawai’i’s residents and businesses.”

The ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year Award is presented annually to utilities, state agencies, regional energy efficiency nonprofit organizations, associations, and other organizations that incorporate ENERGY STAR® as a key strategy in their energy efficiency and environmental programs.

Organizations are evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Demonstrates best practices across the organization;
  • Proves organization-wide energy savings; and
  • Participates actively and communicates the benefits of ENERGY STAR®.

For more information about Hawai‘i Energy or to view available rebates and programs, visit their website.


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