Monday, April 19, 2010

Easy And Bogus Energy Star Certifications

Newly added to my list of things that annoy me would be the EPA and the DOE. That's the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. Both sound like they would be something that would not annoy me. They certainly sound like things that should not annoy me. But when I read over yonder at Fox News that "The federal government has been slapping "energy-efficient" ratings on products that don't even exist" then I get a little annoyed. I get even more annoyed when I read that one of these non-existent products was "...a space heater with a duster and several fly strips attached to it". Wait. What now?

Correct. A space heater with a feather duster and fly strips attached to it. What. The. Hell? According to the article, the Governmental Accountability Office (which is sort of like the Internal Affairs of the federal government) "...wanted to see how easily the feds could be duped". Apparently, the answer to that question is "very". Very easily is how the feds could be duped.

They submitted 20 different products and 15 of those were approved for the "Energy Star" rating. Great. So 75% of the time, they're just certifying crap. Good to know. What else? Well, the reason this happened was because "...Energy Star does not verify energy-savings data reported by manufacturers." So, wait. So you can just tell them whatever the heck you want to about your product, whether it be real or fake, and they're not going to ask you to prove your claims?! Are you kidding me? LOOK at it!!

For cryin' out loud. Now, this wouldn't annoy me all that much except for the fact that a company that makes a product that is Energy Star certified gets humongous tax breaks. Thus, I can see the incentive for any company to claim that anything that they have is energy efficient in order to get that rating and receive their tax breaks. I can see the incentive even more considering that one of the bogus products that the DOE and the EPA approved was a (wait for it) "a "gas-powered alarm clock" that "...was described as a generator-sized clock run on gasoline." Are you kidding me?

How would an alarm clock that runs on GASOLINE be considered "energy efficient"? Granted, it doesn't use any electricity, I'll give it that! But that's about all I can give it! And it says that it's "generator-sized"? That sounds like it's HUGE. Why would anyone even WANT a gasoline powered alarm clock? How would that work? EVER?!

Now of course, after these departments were notified of this little incident (in which a space heater with a feather duster attached to it was certified as being energy efficient), they responded "...that they continue to check up on products after they are certified." Hmm. That's really not explaining how a space heater with a feather duster on it got certified in the first place, but good to know that you'll be checking up on it in the future! Good. To. Know. Maybe they'll look on one of the bogus product websites that the GAO set up for these things.

Further, "In a joint statement, the DOE and EPA said they take the findings "very seriously" and that they have started "enhanced testing" to improve. But they said the public should not lose confidence in the program. " Enhanced testing? You need enhanced testing to figure out that a space heater with a feather duster on it is NOT an energy saving appliance? You DO? Really?! And because you need that testing, THAT is what is supposed to make me not lose confidence in the program?! Really?! You're going to have to explain to me WHY that would be, because from what I can tell, the folks that are running the certification show over there are a bunch of morons.

They also tried to cover their asses by saying, "A review last year found that 98 percent of the products tested met or exceeded the ENERGY STAR requirements." I find that to be an interesting statistic, as this little experiment done by the GAO managed to get 75% of their fake crap certified. Were they just having an off couple of weeks there? Because this isn't an elongated process at all. That space heater debacle? Yeah, "The EPA approved it in 11 days and listed it on the official Web site." Good Lord.

What have we learned? We've apparently learned that just because something is labeled Energy Star, it doesn't necessarily mean crap. We've also learned that the EPA thought it was a good idea to feature a space heater with a feather duster attached on their website. And that means that we've learned that there is obviously more than one moron working over there and they all seem to be on the same page. And from what we've learned, we can just simply assume that we're doomed. Doomed. And if you'd like to look at the GAO's report and see for yourself just how doomed we are, it's available here.

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