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Electronics Giants Threaten to Abandon Energy Star

Major electronics manufacturers may drop out of Energy Star because of the EPA’s third-party testing requirements, according to a report by Bloomberg Businessweek.

The Consumer Electronics Association, whose members include Apple and Sony, says “unilateral” changes in January 2011, requiring third-party lab tests of products’ energy usage, are too expensive. Companies used to be able to test their own products when participating in the EPA’s energy efficiency labeling program.

“Not only is EPA losing its focus with the Energy Star program, but it is also alienating industry partners who have repeatedly voiced opposition to proposed changes,” Consumer Electronics Association vice president of technology Doug Johnson said.

According to Bloomberg, other groups that have protested the requirement include the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers and the Information Technology Industry Council. ITIC members include Dell, Ericsson, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, Motorola, Nokia, Panasonic and Texas Instruments.

CEA says more than half of all Energy Star products sold in the US are consumer electronics.

The EPA implemented the third-party certification requirements following a series of violations in 2011. Last spring, the Department of Energy announced 20 enforcement cases against companies that the department said it had “reason to believe” were selling products without certification of energy efficiency or water conservation compliance. The companies include manufacturers of appliance, plumbing and lighting products.

In April, CEA members met with members of Congress to lobby for Energy Star reform. Following the meeting, House lawmakers wrote a letter to EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, Businessweek reports. The congressmen said the new testing requirement may create a disincentive for companies to participate in the program.

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