Trust In Energy Star Labeling May Be Misplaced

03.30.10 | FL News Team

The Energy Star program that's supposed to certify the most energy-efficient consumer products has been found sadly wanting. A new report by the Government Accountability Office details a test devised to see whether the ratings are accurate. The GAO created several fake companies, which submitted nearly two-dozen fictitious products for approval. All of them made outrageous efficiency claims. In only four cases was the GAO asked to provide third-party testing data for their bogus products.

 The report says the investigation found "companies can easily submit fictitious energy efficiency claims" to obtain Energy Star qualification. The report goes on to slice and dice the program, saying certifying products as Energy Star compliant, quote, "provides little assurance that products with the Energy Star label are some of the most efficient on the market."

 The Energy Star program certifies products ranging from TV sets to light fixtures for efficiency. In most cases, manufacturer's data is relied on. The Energy Department, which runs the program, announced earlier this month it was putting together an effort to test every product before approval but that's a daunting task. Energy Star has given permission to affix the energy efficiency label on more than 40-thousand products since 1992. The full report is posted on the Government Accountability Office website, GAO.gov.