According to a recent government report, 15 fake products received Energy Star certifications, including a 1.5 foot-tall gas-powered alarm clock and an “air room cleaner” (actually a space heater with a feather duster and fly strips attached).
Investigators from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) submitted 20 bogus products to the Energy Star program, which is operated by the EPA and Department of Energy (DOE), for labeling as energy-efficient consumer products. Fifteen of the products passed these specification guidelines:
– Product categories must contribute significant energy savings nationwide.
– Qualified products must deliver the features and performance demanded by consumers, in addition to increased energy efficiency.
– Energy efficiency can be achieved through broadly available, non-proprietary technologies offered by more than one manufacturer.
– Product energy consumption and performance can be measured and verified with testing.
The GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, concluded the program to be “a self-certification program vulnerable to fraud and abuse,” due largely to the fact that Energy Star does not verify claims made my manufacturers.
Senator Susan Collins of (R-Maine), ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, requested the study.
The EPA and DOE did respond to the GAO report in a joint news release, outlining the course of action they will take in order to rectify the situation.
“The steps we’re taking now will further strengthen and improve the program, building on the results that consumers have come to expect,” said Cathy Zoi, DOE assistant secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
The outlined steps include both testing and enforcement actions, including an expanded system that will require all products seeking the Energy Star label to be tested in approved labs.