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?
if when they starting rating a product it was 70% then they are probably too lenient. but if it started at 20 % and manufacturers made their products better to comply with the requirements then got to 70%, we they should get a pat on the back. Then re-evaluate the system to see if you can make the products more efficient. If possible then raise the standards. If its not possible what good would raising the standards be?
I understand that Energy Star is supposed to be a rating that helps consumers purchase more energy efficient goods. The rating obviously helps increase the sale of that item. However, have you noticed that the only items in a company's product line that get the Energy Star rating are the biggest and most expensive product the company sells? For example, I needed to replace a bathroom exhaust fan. All of the Energy Star rated fans had extra lights, heat lamps, etc. which I didn't need because it would have been redundant in that bathroom. All I wanted and needed was a fan, which is also supposed to be green and energy efficient, using only what you need. I ended up going with the same size but non Energy Star rated fan, and it was less expensive - a nice bonus.
Not everyone needs the biggest with all of the bells and whistles and sometimes I wonder if those products REALLY are more energy efficient with all of the extras. Don't they tempt you into using more energy to run the extras or keep them on, than encouraging you to use less?
Yes, it is time for more stringent measures. Look at what the NFRC has done for windows. Just because a window meets the Energy Star criteria does not mean it qualifies for the Federal Energy Tax Credit. You must go further than the standards set up by Energy Star.
We need tighter and tighter controls so that products become more efficient now!