NAFEM provides feedback on proposed Colo. bill to require ENERGY STAR ® certification

If approved, Colorado House Bill 19-1231 would require that all commercial dishwashers, fryers and steam cookers, along with a variety of other devices, used in the state must meet or exceed ENERGY STAR and WaterSense requirements. In collaboration with the Colorado Restaurant Association (CRA) and the National Restaurant Association (NRA), NAFEM expressed its concern that, while the bill is well-intended and NAFEM’s support for ENERGY STAR is strong, it raises several issues that could undermine this valuable, national program, including:

  • ENERGY STAR is a voluntary program and the bill begins to test the limits of the meaning of the term “voluntary;”
  • The initial cost of energy-efficient equipment may challenge operators who have other business requirements or needs, e.g., colleges/schools, correctional facilities, healthcare, or smaller, independent operators trying to get the doors open to generate revenue;
  • The bill could challenge manufacturers who choose to offer equipment that doesn’t meet ENERGY STAR standards to suit customer needs; and
  • The foodservice industry uses specialized equipment that should be specified by people who know what they’re doing, not through legislation.

Additionally, the Food Service Technology Center expressed concern that, as a voluntary program, ENERGY STAR does not cover all the variants of equipment that are used in the commercial foodservice equipment industry. Furthermore, the incremental cost for ENERGY STAR products over available standard-efficiency alternatives can be a significant cost to foodservice operators in the state, thereby creating an undue burden to Colorado businesses.

NAFEM will continue to monitor this bill, along with other similar proposed legislation in Conn., Hawaii, Ill., Maine, R.I. and Wash.