LG Gets More Green Rankings From UL Environment, and Sues DoE for Stripping Its Energy Star Labels

lg logo image

Image via V.Sharma via Flickr CC

It's a big week for LG Electronics. We've heard for awhile now about the controversy around LG refrigerators not meeting Energy Star criteria, and so as many as 20 models are being stripped of their labels. However, LG is turning right around and suing the Department of Energy over the issue for not being more clear in its ranking criteria around Energy Star standards. Yet while all that is happening, LG is also raking in the "firsts" with UL Environment for several electronics, the latest of which is a green(er) PC monitor - which also has green features focusing on big shift in language we've been waiting to hear. The Good
Greener Computing reports that the latest of LG's "firsts" in green electronics credentials with UL Environment is its E2350VLED 23-inch monitor, which will be introduced later this week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

The monitor meets the IEEE 1680 benchmark for electronics at the Gold level, with a design that allows for 90% of the monitor to be reused or recycled at the end of its life, and it is sold in packaging that is 90% recyclable as well.

Did you catch that one tiny word there, though? Reusable, not recyclable. That's a shift in language we're excited to see, since reusing products and materials is far greener than recycling them. Now we're just waiting for it to be reusable, and made from recycled materials.

Not only does this earn the monitor certification from UL Environment, but it also means that it passes snuff for Energy Star criteria as well. Which is more than can be said for its refrigerators, at least according to the DoE.

The Bad
We know that LG was busted by the DoE for selling Energy Star-labeled refrigerators that didn't meet Energy Star standards. The DoE has stripped those appliances of their labels. However, in a counter move, LG is now suing the DoE for not being more specific about its ranking criteria.

According to Business Green, "The DoE said it requires manufacturers to run tests while ice-making systems are turned on but are "inoperative" or not in active operation. This enables testers to assess overall energy use while the ice-maker is switched on, but not actively producing ice. But LG is arguing that it understood the word "inoperative" to mean turning the ice-maker off completely, hence the apparent discrepancy in energy use."

Still, third party testers found that LG refrigerators boasting the label used as much as twice the energy claimed by the company.

The Ugly
LG runs the risk of losing not just green street cred if the labels are stripped, but also its ability to participate in energy-efficient appliace rebate programs - meaning money-conscience consumers will pick other brands over LG when they're looking for appliances eligible for rebates.

With this issue on their hands, it's no wonder LG is working so hard at getting more rankings from UL Environment, a third party tester with a high level of respect in testing and certifications. But it makes this next statement a little more shakey:

"In an era when 'greenwashing' is growing more prevalent, UL Environment is proud to be able to certify to the public and reassure consumers that this product meets our holistic sustainability criteria for design, manufacture and end-of-life disposal," said Steve Wenc, President of UL Environment.

When it comes to its refrigerators, unless LG makes progress with this lawsuit, "greenwashing" will be exactly what consumers think the company has done with its appliances.

More on LG's Greener Side
LG First Electronics Manufacturer to Get Thumbs Up From UL Environment
LG Introduces Solar Powered e-Reader
LG's TV Recycling Program: Hip or Hype?
LG POP Cell Phone Goes Solar Powered
LG OLED TVs Already Hitting Stores

Related Content on Treehugger.com