The U.S. DOE Energy Star program is plagued with some major problems that result in too many products receiving the rating and in energy consumption figures for some products sharply understated, according to an article in the October issue of Consumer Reports magazine.
The magazine's recent investigation into the Energy Star program found out-of-date testing protocols and lax standards that allow more products to qualify for the Energy Star rating.
The Environmental Protection Agency says about 25% of products in a category should qualify for the Energy Star rating, states a Consumer Reports news release. However, until recently, for example, 92% of dishwashers qualified. Likewise, 67% of oil-fired boilers and 60% of dehumidifiers have qualified under the program. In contrast, under a tighter standard now in force, only some 50% of refrigerators qualify.
Consumer Reports made a number of recommendations for the DOE to address the problems including:
Bring testing procedures in line with the technology available in consumer products.
Require independent verification of test results.
Consider a graded qualifying system rather than blanket qualification.
Police companies and enforce standards more thoroughly.