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Critics Say Energy Star Standards Too Lax

energy_star.jpgConsumer and environmental groups says it is often too easy for companies to qualify for the Energy Star logo. The Energy Star appliance program ideally should appear on appliances that score in the top 25 percent for energy efficiency in their categories, but 60 percent of all dishwasher models on the market qualified in 2007, BusinessWeek reports.

“If the DOE gives Energy Star to everyone, eventually it’s worthless,” David Goldstein, a director at the Natural Resources Defense Council told BusinessWeek.

Last summer, Consumers Union complained that Samsung and LG Electronics were gaming the system. In its testing labs, the group discovered the refrigerators only qualified for the logo when their icemakers were turned off. When the icemakers were on, the refrigerators exceeded the power consumption stated on their Energy Star labels.

Both companies say they complied with DOE standards. It turns out that when the refrigerator rule was revised in 2001 and 2004, there was no requirement to turn on the icemaking feature during the tests.

According to the fourth EcoPinion Survey from EcoAlighn, the Energy Star label is extremely or very important to 68 percent of consumers.

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One thought on “Critics Say Energy Star Standards Too Lax

  1. One has to wonder exactly what the Samsung and LG Electronics Ethics in Business policy looks like because regardless of the change to the EPA test procedure the common assumption within the appliance industry is that an ice-maker equipped refrigerator/freezer unit would indeed be used by the end consumer. To merely pass it off as “complying with the test procedure” is highly suspect. Did Samsung and LG Electronics boldly label their appliances with a disclaimer or warning that the energy consumption “yellow tag” that came with their appliance was not indicative of the configuration shipped?

    Their practice of deception is no different than if Ford or GM performed an EPA test on a vehicle with a 4-cylinder engine and after achieving 30 MPG highway sold all such vehicles with a V-8 but kept the 30 MPG rating. Would the public and government scream FOUL? Yes they would.

    The EPA needs to tighten up their test procedure so appliances are tested as configured, options and all. In the mean time Samsung and LG Electronics should recall all of their defective (not meeting published specifications on the EPA Yellow Tag) appliances and replace them with ones that do meet the published specifications.

    No wonder States like California are not seeing the full benefit of their refrigerator incentive programs. People are willingly upgrading appliances in the hopes of saving energy only to line the deep pockets of global giants, raid the coffers of the utility rate-payer efficiency incentive funds, and choke-up our landfills with old appliances that may well have been a better energy play left plugged-in.

    Samsung and LG Electronics – its time to act ethically and responsibly. Clean up the energy nightmare that you foisted on an unsuspecting public.

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