Energy Star program needs improvement, says Consumer Reports
The U.S. EPA is facing off with Consumer Reports over the federal Energy Star program, which rates the energy efficiency of products in more than 50 categories. In a recent article, the consumer magazine declares that Energy Star “standards are too easy to reach and federal test procedures haven’t kept pace with new technology,” noting that product testing by manufacturers is not independently verified. Energy Star initially aimed to set high enough standards that only 25 percent of products in a category would meet them, says the article, but now, for example, 60 percent of dehumidifiers are Energy Star-rated. EPA’s Kathleen Hogan doth protest: “Increasing the market share of qualifying products from their initial levels is a goal of the program — not a fundamental flaw or an indication that the requirements are lax.” EPA did admit that product testing may need improvement, after Consumer Reports calculated one highly rated fridge to use 890 kilowatt-hours per year — not 540, as claimed by Energy Star.