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EPA Defends It's Energy Star Program


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EPA's ENERGY STAR program and Consumer Reports share a common goal — to empower consumers to make more informed decisions about the products they purchase. That is why EPA is disappointed in the article titled, "ENERGY STAR has lost some luster" in the October 2008 issue of Consumer Reports. It misleads consumers.

The article misses the basic purpose of the ENERGY STAR program. ENERGY STAR helps consumers not just find energy-efficient products, but ones that will cost-effectively help them save money while protecting our environment. Indeed, by providing this type of information for more than 15 years, the ENERGY STAR program has helped prevent 40 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of 27 million vehicles while saving Americans more than $16 billion on their utility bills in 2007 alone.

To accomplish this, EPA initially seeks to have about 25 percent of available models meet the ENERGY STAR criteria when they are first established for a product category. Increasing the market share of qualifying products from their initial levels is a goal of the program — not a fundamental flaw or an indication that the requirements are lax, as the article suggests.

EPA stands by the integrity of the ENERGY STAR program. The ENERGY STAR program includes a comprehensive set of activities to maintain the integrity of the label. Activities include testing of the performance of products where warranted, spot checking products pulled from the marketplace and coordination with a number of product testing certification programs. When issues are identified, they are addressed.

The ENERGY STAR program now includes products across more than 50 product categories ranging from lighting to home electronics, office equipment, and home heating and cooling. In each case the ENERGY STAR criteria are based on established testing procedures for the energy use of the products. These testing procedures have been consistently updated as necessary to appropriately measure the energy efficiency of individual products, except in just a few cases.

For information on the complete set of program integrity activities that ENERGY STAR undertakes, see the ENERGY STAR 2007 Integrity Report at www.energystar.gov/partners.

Kathleen Hogan, Director

Climate Protection Partnerships Division

US Environmental Protection Agency

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