Green Building Law Blog

The Emperor And His Energy Saving, 100% Recycled Clothes

The AP reported that 15 phony items were admitted to the EPA's Energy Star program because manufacturers' claims of energy efficiency are not verified:

But the General Accountability Office, Congress` investigative arm, said Energy Star doesn`t verify claims made by manufacturers -- which might explain the gasoline-powered alarm clock, not to mention a product billed as an air room cleaner that was actually a space heater with a feather duster and fly strips attached, and a computer monitor that won approval within 30 minutes of submission.


A gasoline powered alarm clock? Seriously? 

Last week I posted about the United Nations suspending its third carbon credit auditing company in 15 months.  These situations undermine all efforts towards a more sustainable future. Take, for example, the damage done by the climate change email debacle.  To be credible, solid, verifiable evidence must be the foundation of efforts designed to change the mind of skeptics and convert naysayers.  Otherwise, we will be measuring climate change using a gasoline powered there's an idea...

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rico - April 5, 2010 1:20 PM

To be credible, solid, verifiable evidence must be the foundation of efforts designed to change the mind of skeptics and convert naysayers

Steve Sacks - April 8, 2010 12:28 AM

I agree for the most part. Yes, these events hurt the sustainability movement. But, I don't think its a major tragedy. It's not like someone was getting paid off...perhaps the program is underfunded? (Yes, I said it!) How many products are submitted to Energy Star every week? Look at the state of the patent office. With any growing movement you're going to see opportunists and fakes. I'm confident this won't be the last time.

Suspending the credit auditing companies, and the catching the fraudulent Energy Star products at least shows there are some checks on the system. Yes, the failure by the Energy Star program is reprehensible, but let's just call it a reality check for now...the program has certainly done a lot of good since it's inception in 1992.

Just because Energy Star messed up doesn't mean it's credibility is ruined forever. No industry is perfect, and we know there are plenty of real products that were once widely touted as Green and are now generally shunned (e.g. Ethanol). The proof in the end is in industry testing and acceptance of the product, not the certification.

Naysayers? I find them ideologues. As the saying goes, you're either part of the solution or part of the problem. If something is wrong with Energy Star, naysayers should help fix it, not say "I told you so." I'd like to know if Senator Collins is willing to provide some funding to the Energy Star Program to ensure the vetting is thorough....

Thanks as always for a provocative post.

Shari Shapiro, Esq., LEED AP
Suite 300, Liberty View, 457 Haddonfield Road, P.O. Box 5459
Cherry Hill, NJ 08002-2220,