Remember earlier in the week how we mentioned that the Energy Star program would be getting an overhaul? Now it comes out apparently the reason as to why – the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) today released the findings of an investigation it did into Energy Star. The results? Quite ugly indeed.
The GAO determined, in a nutshell, that the Energy Star program certification process is vulnerable to fraud and abuse. The investigation was prompted by concerns over false energy efficient products being hawked to consumers. The GAO managed to, through the self certification program, obtain “Energy Star certifications for 15 bogus products, including a gas-powered alarm clock.” Two bogus products were rejected and three apparently did not receive a response. Additionally, managed to obtain Energy Star partnership status for bogus companies.
Perhaps most disturbing of all this is the fact that the GAO found that “ for our bogus products, certification controls were ineffective primarily because Energy Star does not verify energy-savings data reported by manufacturers.” The GAO, in meeting with officials responsible for the Energy Star program, found that these individuals “agreed that the program is currently based on self-certifications by manufacturers. However, officials stated there are after-market tests and self-policing that ensure standards are maintained.” The DOE and EPA gained support from the GAO in its previously mentioned plans to enhance testing prior to certification.
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