Consumer Reports says: "Energy Star Sucks"

Consumer Reports, reports that the Energy Star certification system is relaxing standards, relying on out of date test procedures, and that the program is self regulating (Not!) with manufacturers themselves doing their own testing.
Hallelujah, baby!

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that fully 50% of appliances are Energy Star certified, down from 92% when new protocols were enacted…..though only 25% should be.
You go girl!

The Chronicle further reports:
"For example, Consumer Reports used a more stringent test to measure the energy use of a couple of refrigerator models. Sensing that consumers use their icemakers if they buy a model with through-door ice and water, the magazine turned the icemakers on to do their testing (the Department of Energy allows manufacturers to test with the icemakers turned off) and found that the refrigerators used several hundred more kilowatts of electricity in a year than the Energy Star label indicated. Hence, the magazine reasons, if the refrigerators are used as intended, the owners won’t save as much electricity as they were led to believe when they bought it."
Tingly Tingly Tingly all over my body

These complaints can be added to our own.

  • Using a national average electric rate ($0.09 – 0.10/kw) which has no relation to a huge segment of the population.
  • Comparing appliances only to similarly featured appliances, for example a 25 ft3 side by side with water dispensor compared other like models but not compared to a 19 ft top mount.  Fat boobs across America can make piggish appliance purchases and yet still have an Energy Star product.  Fat boobs should know that they are fat boobs.  In Europe, an A, B, C, D rating system is a somewhat less blunt energy rating instrument.
  • Some systems are idiot-proof.  Energy Star is intelligence-proof.  It is impossible, IMPOSSIBLE, for a green-minded consumer to use Energy Star information to consciously choose between brands, features, sizes and configurations with the goal of minimizing his/her energy consumption.

Q:  Who should take on the responsibility of energy testing if not the manufacturers?
A:  The best’est friends of all electrical products manufacturers, UL, CSA and ETL.

Q:  Should participation be optional like Energy Star?
A:  Are you smoking something?  Energy independence is a national goal, leaving no room for the incompetent consumer who has long been the meal ticket of our industry.  All appliances MUST be INDEPENDENTLY tested for energy use and performance, using real world criteria.  Their results MUST be published on the web, attached to the appliance and perusable at every dealer.

Q:  What about a certification system?
A:  There should be only one certification system, if the appliance meets minimum standards it can be manufactured, otherwise it can not.  In place of the current "certification" we should have a rating system, rating energy usage, performance, and some sort of convoluted algorithm which combines the both.

UPDATE:  September 18:  Actual energy ratings of LG and Samsung refrigerators shown to be wholly disconnected from reality.  Yahh for the home team.  Watch video.

3 Responses to Consumer Reports says: "Energy Star Sucks"

  1. UL already has too much power in the appliance industry.  They have convinced many manufactures (particularly European manufacturers) that they are the only option for appliance safety testing.  And talk about impossible to understand – have you seen the UL testing standards?

    Why not have a comprehensive safety and energy rating that is actually easy to understand and can be tested at a private certified testing lab?  UL doesn’t give a rip about safety, and they won’t give a rip about energy efficiency.  They just want to test and collect their money.  Would we have laptops that spontaneously catch fire or ranges that explode if UL really cared about safety? 

    Comment received by email from appliance brand executive and uploaded by

    • I do not disagree.  UL is a pain in the ass, but these appliances pass through their hands at the same time anyway.  Before production, after final design.  Adding another agency into the mix will not improve the lives of manufacturers.

      The actual test standards should not be written by UL, but UL/ETL/CSA can test to the standards.


    • Power ???? How about engineering something properly and going through the required steps ? Works for most. I would agree though that a standard should be set by a group of people who can make some sense out of what would truly be something useful.

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