From The Washington Post: John S. Hoffman, a former federal environmental official whose innovative program to identify and reward energy-efficient practices became the Energy Star program, a voluntary international rating system for “green” products, died Sept. 24 at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. He was 62 and a Washington resident.
He had complications after surgery for a perforated peptic ulcer, said his wife, Lucinda McConathy.
Mr. Hoffman was a global warming crusader in the 1980s, before the terms “climate change” and “clean energy” were part of everyday life. People looked at him as if he were a modern-day Chicken Little when he discussed ozone depletion and climate change, said Maria Vargas, a former colleague of his at the Environmental Protection Agency and current director of the Better Buildings Challenge at the Department of Energy.
Mr. Hoffman’s brainchild, the Energy Star program, was originally intended to be just one of a series of voluntary programs to combat global warming and demonstrate the profit potential of developing ecologically sustainable products. He was one of the first officials at EPA, Vargas said, to recognize that voluntary programs could help the agency take preventive action against environmental problems instead of just responding to them.
In 1996, the EPA partnered with the Department of Energy to include major home appliances and home electronics in the Energy Star program. The label is now featured on houses, commercial and industrial buildings and more than 40,000 consumer products.
In the past two decades, according to the EPA, Energy Star has prevented more than 1.7 billion metric tons of carbon emissions and saved Americans nearly $230 billion in utility bills.
The program celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and has been adopted by the European Union.
Mr. Hoffman was also a driving force behind what became the 1987 Montreal Protocol, a landmark international treaty designed to reduce harmful chemical emissions. More.
And David Doninger of NRDC writes that Hoffman was a "brilliant leader of the EPA team that saved the ozone layer."