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Audit: ‘Energy Star’ Program Is Flawed

Discreetly buried in the ‘Energy & Environment’ section of the weekend New York Times:

Energy Star Appliances May Not All Be Efficient, Audit Finds


October 19, 2009

WASHINGTON — The Energy Department has concluded in an internal audit that it does not properly track whether manufacturers that give their appliances an Energy Star label have met the required specifications for energy efficiency.

Some manufacturers could therefore be putting the stickers on unqualified products, according to the audit, by the Energy Department’s inspector general, Gregory H. Friedman.

The Energy Star program, jointly managed by the Energy Department and the Environmental Protection Agency, has benefited from a renewed emphasis by the Obama administration, as a mechanism for reducing the waste of energy and curbing resulting greenhouse gas emissions. Under the federal stimulus bill, $300 million will go to rebates for consumers who buy Energy Star products

Last December, the environmental agency’s inspector general said the Energy Star ratings for products it oversees, like computers and television sets, were “not accurate or verifiable” because of weak oversight by the agency.

The Energy Department vowed then to scrutinize its performance in evaluating the products that it oversees, like windows, dishwashers, washing machines and refrigerators.

The new audit, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, indicates that the Energy Department has also fallen far short. Those shortcomings “could reduce consumer confidence in the integrity of the Energy Star label,” according to the department’s inspector general. The audit is to be submitted to Energy Secretary Steven Chu this week.

While the Energy Department requires manufacturers of windows and L.E.D. and fluorescent lighting to have independent laboratories evaluate their products, the report said, companies that make refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, water heaters and room air-conditioners, which consume far more energy, can certify those appliances themselves.

One refrigerator manufacturer tipped off the Energy Department that some models from a competitor that carried the Energy Star label did not meet the criteria, the audit said. That problem was also described by Consumer Reports magazine in October 2008 about tests it had conducted. In a settlement last year, the manufacturer, LG of South Korea, agreed to modify circuit boards in the machines already sold, to reduce their consumption and to compensate consumers for the extra power consumed.

The report also noted that while the government said in 2007 that it would conduct “retail assessments” to ensure that all the products carrying the Energy Star logo deserved them, it is still not doing so for windows, doors, skylights, water heaters and solid-state lighting. And the department is not following through to ensure that when inappropriately labeled products are identified, the labels are actually taken off, the audit said

Mr. Burt said the memorandum committed both agencies to having all of their products evaluated by certified independent laboratories, and to expand the Energy Star program to cover products that were not in common use when it began in 1996. No target date was set

According to the sometimes reliable Wikipedia, the Energy Star program was created by the US Environmental Protection Agency in 1992.

So it has been going on for 17 years. And yet it is susceptible to this kind of fraud and manipulation.

Aren’t we already seeing televisions and other products being banned in some states because of their energy efficiency? Who is doing those tests?

And, lest we forget, Mr. Obama intends to impose a similar plan for our housing and commercial buildings, which will have to be ‘certified’ to meet certain environmental standards.

But unlike the ‘Energy Star’ program, it won’t be ‘voluntary.’

Just imagine the fun we’ll all have then.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, October 19th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

10 Responses to “Audit: ‘Energy Star’ Program Is Flawed”

  1. proreason says:

    What a shock.

    Who could have imagined that our benevolent government could make a mistake like failing to check whether an esteemed badge of honor like the “Energy Star” was indeed merited.

    Why it’s almost as if we had military heroes, with say 3 Purple Hearts and 2 Silver Stars, who had made up their exploits from whole cloth. Thank God THAT can’t happen.

    And thank God that every claim made for Universal Health Care will be rigorously enforced by our government, which works so intensely to protect the citizens from all evils.

    Why, just look at Medicare for proof of that.

    This is why we need the government to control every detail of our lives.

    We need something we can trust to take care of us.

  2. Flession says:

    I honestly had no idea that Energy Star was a government program.

    I had a computer screen once that was Energy Star compliant, back when I had a desktop. It fried within a few months of purchase.

    Makes perfect why it did now.

  3. Liberals Demise says:

    “And the hits just keep ooooooooon comin’.”

  4. pdsand says:

    Yeah that program never made any sense to me, now I see it’s because it is a government program. They state a range of how much energy is used by similar products, and they say that this model is among the least efficient and will cost this much extra to run, yet it’s still an “energy star” appliance. How can that be?

  5. wirenut says:

    My energy star program mandates that every toaster-oven or microwave unit emit sunflower angel-wings with feelings of self-esteem and happy thoughts. No labor, natural resources or profit motives are to be involved. Say it can’t happen?
    I’d say your right! As I lite up a “cowboy killer” and inhale deeply, I look at my planet murdering refrigerator and know …. there’s red meat inside and charcoal to fire up. Insensitive? Perhaps. It’s all about the freedom of choice ain’t it?

  6. BigOil says:

    Keep in mind the Department of Energy is receiving 38 billion dollars from the porkulus bill. That means we will spend nearly 100 billion dollars on this worthless agency over the next two years.

    An agency that has never produced a btu’s worth of energy and can not implement a simple program.

    Raining money down upon failure – it is the democrat way.

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      More than that, it’s the GOVERNMENT way. For quite some time, the way our government does things is anathema to the way a normal person would run their own household.

      For an analogy, if the household was struggling financially due to the breadwinner(s) having to take lower pay, etc, in the government way of thinking, the household would borrow against their assets (house, cars, etc) and dig a deeper hole, expecting the family to help them out if they got stuck. Or, when faced with little Timmy needing braces, they would go ahead and get them put in, not knowing how to pay for them.

      Although this seems fundamentally insane, it is how our government works with the lobbyists and special interests and those who squawk the loudest getting their way.

      At least in one respect, the one good thing about going socialist (if there is such a thing) is that the lefties just want to cut out the middle man and rather than have the government debate over who gets the money…just have the government control everything.

      All great in theory. But..then….Werner Von Braun had a lot of things that worked great “in theory” but it took several hundred design permutations to get to a rocket that worked all the time.

      My point is that our society isn’t based on letting the government control ANYTHING but for using our legal system to allow the PEOPLE to police ourselves. The government, in its current iteration, has lost sight of the separation of the branches of government and are all blurring it together to form one cohesive and ILLEGAL operation that doesn’t make a move without checking with the executive branch first.

      It has crept in over the years and it has been pervasive and neither party is immune. But the system only works if you follow the directions. Of course, S&L readers know this and I’m not saying anything new here. But it frustrates me that the intent and ideal of our system is perverted into an organized crime syndicate, pay-for-play and nobody unable to have the stones to resist temptation.

      The only difference I would’ve made to the Constitution is that anyone seeking public office had to have been EMPLOYED for at least 10 years before being eligible. And that that employment had to consist of being an order-taker as well as an order-giver. A job where they had to manage their own money, pay bills, and see where it went.

      But then, that’s my version of “utopia”.

  7. Confucius says:

    I’m not surprised.

    The EPA is also behind those fraudulent “estimated city/highway MPG” ratings.

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