A few months ago, reports surfaced that the Energy Star label wasn’t quite as reliable as we all thought. A secret investigation found that the certification process for energy-efficient products was a sham; less-than-worthy products received certification almost instantly without any background checks and sometimes from a computer.
Following the investigation, the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency began cracking down on companies that violated its Energy Star certification process. Now the two agencies are changing the process itself, to ensure that only products meeting the program’s requirements receive an Energy Star label.
Some of the changes include:
• Doing away with the automated approval process. EPA workers will review and approve all new applications.
• Not allowing Energy Star partners access to the Energy Star certification mark until the EPA has approved a specific product submitted by the company. Before the changes, once a company became an Energy Star partner, it could access the Energy Star label and use it on products without certification.
• Strengthening the certification requirements. Under the new guidelines, manufacturers must turn in test results from an approved, accredited lab. This requirement, already in place for windows, doors, skylights and compact fluorescent lighting, will be extended to the program’s more than 60 product categories.
The EPA and DOE have announced that they are committed to continually improving the Energy Star program. Watch for more changes.