But I *Want* A Gasoline-Powered Alarm Clock!

by Jimmy Akin

in Uncategorized

200px-Energy_Star_logo  According to the Government Accountability Office

American consumers, businesses, and federal agencies rely on the Energy Star program to identify products that decrease greenhouse emissions and lower energy costs. 

Lower energy costs, okay. Lowering greenhouse emissions, ihh.

In addition, the federal government and various states offer tax credits and other incentives to encourage the use of energy-efficient products including Energy Star products. Specifically, approximately $300 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will be used for state rebate programs on energy-efficient products. 

Ah. So my tax dollars are underwriting this thing. I want it held accountable! What are you going to do about that?

The Energy Star program, which began in 1992, is overseen jointly by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

Nice to know, but again: What are you going to do to hold this government thingie spending my tax dollars to "lower greenhouse emissions" accountable? I want to know!

Given the millions of dollars allocated to encourage use of Energy Star products and concerns that the Energy Star program is vulnerable to fraud and abuse, . . . 

My thought exactly!

. . . GAO was asked to conduct proactive testing to (1) obtain Energy Star partnership status for bogus companies and (2) submit fictitious products for Energy Star certification. 

Ooooo! This should be interesting!

To perform this investigation, GAO used four bogus manufacturing firms and fictitious individuals to apply for Energy Star partnership and submitted 20 fictitious products with fake energy-savings claims for Energy Star certification. 

So . . . our government is admitting . . . to lying . . . to itself?

GAO also reviewed program documents and interviewed agency officials and officials from agency Inspector General (IG) offices.

Okay, but that's less interesting than the government admitting to lying to itself part.

GAO's investigation shows that Energy Star is for the most part a self-certification program vulnerable to fraud and abuse. 

I knew it! I knew it! (Just like all that climate science junk.) Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Oh . . . I guess that's the GAO.)

So what happened?

GAO obtained Energy Star certifications for 15 bogus products, including a gas-powered alarm clock. 

WOO-HOO!!! Gas-powered alarm clocks! Oh wait . . . it's fake.

Two bogus products were rejected by the program and 3 did not receive a response. 

So 75% of the fake products (15 of 20) were approved.

In addition, two of the bogus Energy Star firms developed by GAO received requests from real companies to purchase products because the bogus firms were listed as Energy Star partners. This clearly shows how heavily American consumers rely on the Energy Star brand. 

Indeed!

The program is promoted through tax credits and appliance rebates, and federal agencies are required to purchase certain Energy Star certified products. 

So . . . you're saying that I could come up with a fake product, get it approved by Energy Star, and then government agencies would be required to purchase it? I mean, not–er–me, but–well–somebody?

GAO found that for our bogus products, certification controls were ineffective primarily because Energy Star does not verify energy-savings data reported by manufacturers. 

So you are saying that I–er–someone could do this!

At briefings on GAO's investigation, DOE and EPA officials agreed that the program is currently based on self-certifications by manufacturers. 

Does Al Gore know about this? He might want to get in on the action.

However, officials stated there are after-market tests and self-policing that ensure standards are maintained. 

Uhhh-huh.

GAO did not test or evaluate controls related to products that were already certified and available to the public. 

Be interesting if it did, though.

In addition, prior DOE IG, EPA IG, and GAO reports have found that current Energy Star controls do not ensure products meet efficiency guidelines.

Okay, then.

MORE. (See links to report/highlights at top of page)

AND SOME FROM POPULAR MECHANICS.

AND WIKIPEDIA REPORTS PAST PROBLEMS WITH ENERGY STAR.

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{ 2 comments }

Edward March 29, 2010 at 7:28 pm

Makes me embarrassed to be a DOE employee.

Benedict March 30, 2010 at 12:47 pm

I read about this in the New York Times the other day. In addition to easy approval for fake products, the article mentioned testing done by Consumer Reports that showed while a lot of products with Energy Star ratings qualified for that rating, so did a large majority of non-Energy Star rated products (and some un-rated products were more energy efficient than Energy Star products).

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