Department of Energy: Some Energy Star appliances on the fritz - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Department of Energy: Some Energy Star appliances on the fritz

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by Jay Gray, NBC News

The "program" is Energy Star. That little yellow sticker you see on some new appliances is supposed to guarantee an appliance is in the top 25% of energy efficiency.

But an internal audit, just released, shows that the Department of Energy has not been properly tracking how the star has been used.

There's evidence some manufacturers have misused the logo, pasting the star on appliances that aren't energy efficient.

Initially manufacturers would self-report whether their products met the energy star guidelines, but with the new revelations that's changing.

"We will NOW ensure that all products get independently tested," said Cathy Zoi of the Dept. of Energy.  

"We think third party testing is a great way to make sure that the customers are getting the energy savings that they're paying for," said Lane Burt of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

And industry watchdogs are quick to point out, despite a few problems, the Energy Star program is not a washout.

"It's not like we found rampant cheating and mis-representation in our testing. i think that for now that the stickers are pretty reliable and they're good comparative things from one product to the next," said Celia Kuperszmid Leharman, Deputy Home Editor, Consumer Reports.

The Department of Energy just wants to make sure the star shines as brightly as it can for consumers.