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Energy Star: The Baby and the Bathwater

14 April 2010

For a long time, consumers have relied on the Energy Star brand to help them find energy efficient products and make good purchasing decisions.  So I know I’m not the only one totally bummed out by recent reports that Energy Star program certification guidelines have been embarrassingly lax, to the point of awarding an Energy Star certification to a gas-powered alarm clock.  Wow.

So when it comes to purchasing new appliances, especially refrigerators and freezers, an Energy Star label is apparently not enough.  But this doesn’t mean we should totally give up on the Energy Star brand.  It’s a classic baby and bathwater situation: if you completely abandon Energy Star because of this horrible situation, you’ll be missing out on some guidance that can be useful.

Instead of giving up entirely on Energy Star, just keep in mind that the Department of Energy is really horrified that this information got out and will definitely be working on it.  In the meantime, there is another way for you to learn more about the energy use of appliances you are considering: the Energy Guide label.  These big yellow labels are pasted on every single new appliance you are looking at, so they’re hard to miss – and they show you exactly where your new fridge falls on a spectrum between wasteful and energy efficient.  If you use the Energy Guide to help your purchasing decisions, rest assured that you will have nothing to worry about.

:: MPR

Edit:  Today the EPA and DOE announced the steps they are taking to ensure Energy Star’s reliability.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Donna permalink
    21 April 2010 12:56 pm

    I tested my recently purchased refrigerator with the ‘Kill-a-Watt’ meter. I left the meter on for a week. It perfectly matched what Energy Star stated I would use. Don’t lose hope with Energy Star yet!

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