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Energy Star gets a boost

A national survey by the Shelton Group recently found that consumers are most likely to visit the Energy Star website for information on green products, as well as the Consumer Reports site.

So the new announcement by the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that they will undertake stronger oversight of the Energy Star certification process is more important than ever, helping to ensure that only products that actually qualify get the Energy Star label.

Manufacturers seeking the Energy Star for a product now will have to submit lab reports and energy-use test results from an approved, accredited lab for review and approval by the EPA. That agency will no longer rely on an automated approval process and will review and approve each application individually.

"The Department of Energy's decision is a significant victory for consumers," says Jim Guest, president of Consumers Union. "Its move to improve the Energy Star program in critical ways, chiefly the new requirement that manufacturers submit independent certification to verify that their product will indeed meet consumers expectations, is a great marketplace advancement."

Even as product certification is being bolstered, some energy-use issues remain. The Energy Department must keep energy-use tests and standards for appliances relevant to the changing marketplace, reflecting real-world use, according to experts at Consumer Reports testing labs.

Learn more about the new certification requirements.

Related links
GAO audit of Energy Star reveals deep flaws in program for energy-efficient appliances
 
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