Does an EnergyStar label change your perception of a product? Maybe it shouldn’t. Last year, an audit showed that Energy Star gave its rating to products that misrepresented their energy usage. This time, auditors posed as companies and submitted completely absurd appliances for EnergyStar ratings, like a gasoline-powered alarm clock the size of a portable generator, and a space heater with a feather duster on top claiming to be an “air purifier.” Is the study meaningless because no actual products were sold, or a warning that the program is sloppy and susceptible to fraud?
In a nine-month study, four fictitious companies invented by the accountability office also sought EnergyStar status for some conventional devices like dehumidifiers and heat pump models that existed only on paper. The fake companies submitted data indicating that the models consumed 20 percent less energy than even the most efficient ones on the market. Yet those applications were mostly approved without a challenge or even questions, the report said.
Auditors concluded that the EnergyStar program was highly vulnerable to fraud.
Audit Finds Vulnerability of EnergyStar Program [New York Times] (Thanks, Howard!)