Energy Star is a sham. That’s right, I said it, the Energy Star label as it stands today doesn’t really mean much for a lot of the products its put on.
Let me give you a ridiculous example. On televisions, the Energy Star label is applied on products based on the energy they consume when the unit is OFF. What!? Are you kidding me!? I’d like to meet the individual or individuals in charge of that decision because it defies all logic. I argue some ridiculous positions in my Devil’s Advocate series and even I have difficulty justifying applying the Energy Star label based on a products phantom electricity usage.
But, moving past that, Leigh Gallagher, senior editor of Smart Money magazine, and their staff went behind the scenes to dig deeper behind the meaning of the label. It’s meaningless for some products, like televisions, but it’s reliable for others. That inconsistency bothers me because inconsistency in a brand, and Energy Star is very much a brand in and of itself, leads one to question it and we live in times when we shouldn’t give any reason to question environmental friendly markers.
According to Smart Money, these are the appliances you can’t trust the Energy Star label on:
- Air Conditioners
- Computers (Desktop & Laptop)
On those items, check the yellow and black EnergyGuide  label required by the FTC. Those will tell you how much energy it consumes and where it is relative to its peer appliances.
These are the products that you can trust the Energy Star label for:
- Washing Machines
Now, there are items that carry the label but aren’t actually regulated (which mean the label is meaningless!):
- Home water heaters
- Toaster or toaster ovens
- MP3 players
See what I mean about the confusion? Fortunately they’re making moves to make the Energy Star more consistent and reliable, such as changes in the way televisions are tested, so perhaps we’ll get more consistency and reliability in the future.
The Truth Behind Energy Star  [CBS]