Energy Star Releases New "Most Efficient" Label


Photo by Wonderlane via Flickr CC

Energy Star has decided a new label is needed to identify the most energy efficient electronics and appliances from those that are, you know, just kinda efficient. Anyone else see a small problem with this?The EPA has announced a new program in Energy Star, the "ENERGY STAR Most Efficient" which will label the highly efficient products in the marketplace.

Um, isn't that what Energy Star is supposed to do in the first place? Label the most efficient products out there? Well, then again we've witnessed how Energy Star isn't exactly very picky about what it certifies. In fact, the overabundance of Energy Star labels has been a complaint among experts such as David Katzmaier, CNET editor and expert on TV energy efficiency, who noted in a panel at CES 2010 that having an energy star label on televisions is pretty much no help at all to consumers selecting a TV since most of the products have the label. What's really needed are ever stronger standards for gaining certification.

But, long rant short, that's not what we're getting, instead we're getting ENERGY STAR Most Efficient.

Energy Star
writes, "This effort will identify the most efficient products among those that qualify for the ENERGY STAR in particular product categories. In 2011, recognition of the most efficient products will be available, on a pilot basis, for clothes washers, heating and cooling equipment, televisions, and refrigerator-freezers."

According to Business Green, "[O]nly five percent of Energy Star-labeled products in those categories meet the Most Efficient standards. Companies earning the label include Electrolux, Kenmore, LG, Samsung, Insignia, Panasonic, Nordyne and Rheem. The EPA will consider adding more categories later this year."

Maybe in another couple years we'll have ENERGY STAR Extreme labels, or ENERGY STAR No Really This One Is The Best labels.

Snark aside, we are glad that the program is trying to help people identify the most energy efficient products on the market, and knowing that only 5% of the products will be able to boast the new label is helpful. Energy efficiency awareness is a vitally important issue when it comes to consumer electronics and appliances. It just seems more reasonable and less confusing if Energy Star simply ramped up their standards more often and to higher levels that kept manufacturers on their toes, and removed labels from products that no longer meet stringent standards, in order to maintain consumer trust for energy labels.

What do you think? Will this help consumers, or just water down the trust in a marketplace already bursting with "eco" labels? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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Tags: Appliances | Electronics | Energy Efficiency