Last week's Washington Post article on ENERGY STAR called into question the legitimacy of the program's "high standard" when more than half of the products in an ENERGY STAR-eligible category qualify for the label. Some product categories see ENERGY STAR market share at well over half, like television (79%), dehumidifiers (75%) and dishwashers (67%).
The program should be evaluating its standards and, in many cases, raising them, the article suggested.
Well ENERGY STAR has responded. In a recent press release, the EPA/DOE-run program acknowledged the article's concerns but insisted that "no matter what the market share of ENERGY STAR qualified products, consumers who purchase a labeled product get one that will contribute to a cleaner environment and save them money without sacrifice in performance."
I can see both sides of the issue, but for the moment I side with ENERGY STAR. They've done a great job raising awareness of energy efficiency and if their market share in a category is 75% isn't that a good thing for consumers and the environment?
I think a program like this has to be careful about how and when they raise their standards. My guess is they would have to give manufacturers a decent heads-up on when a standard would be increased, to give them time to adjust their products. A sudden and/or random increase would upset manufacturers.
What do you think about the Energy Star standard? Time to update?