EnergyStar is supposed to be a reliable standard when shopping for energy-efficient home appliances, but you can't help wonder if the standards have lapsed a bit on EnergyStar's rise to its now ubiquitous status. Apparently we're not the only ones wondering this.
On Friday the EPA and the DOE announced they've launched a new two-step process to expand testing of Energy Star qualified products as part of an overall effort by the Obama Administration to improve the energy efficiency of homes and appliances. According to the press release, the DOE began tests this week on six of the most common product types, including freezers, refrigerator-freezers, clothes washers, dishwashers, water heaters and room air conditioners, and will test approximately 200 basic models at third-party, independent test laboratories over the next few months. The EPA and DOE are also developing an expanded system that will require all products seeking the Energy Star label to be tested in approved labs and will require manufacturers to participate in an ongoing verification testing program to ensure continued compliance.
The press release also states that the EPA and DOE have taken action in recent months against 35 manufacturers of EnergyStar products that weren't, in fact, complying with the efficiency standards.
Considering that people are concerned more than ever with the rising energy costs, it sounds like this overhaul is coming at good time.