Has the ENERGY STAR Fallen?

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?

Energy Star