Your Government Hard at Work

1 Apr

The Energy Star program, which began in 1992, is overseen jointly by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

American consumers, businesses, and federal agencies rely on the Energy Star program to identify products that decrease greenhouse emissions and lower energy costs. In addition, the federal government and various states offer tax credits and other incentives to encourage the use of energy-efficient products including Energy Star products. Specifically, approximately $300 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (“Stimulus” bill) will be used for state rebate programs on energy-efficient products.

In a nine-month study, four fictitious companies invented by the accountability office also sought EnergyStar status for some conventional devices like dehumidifiers and heat pump models that existed only on paper. The fake companies submitted data indicating that the models consumed 20 percent less energy than even the most efficient ones on the market. Yet those applications were mostly approved without a challenge or even questions, the report said.

Some of the fake products that were approved included a gasoline-powered alarm clock and an “air purifier” that was essentially an electric space heater with a feather duster pasted on top.

Highlights of the report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

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