Friday, March 26, 2010

Energy Star Fraud

The Government Accountability Office (GAO), or the investigative arm of Congress, was asked to conduct testing to see if it could obtain Energy Star partnership status for bogus companies and if it could submit fictitious products for Energy Star certification.

A report released Friday says 15 phony products won the Energy Star label. GAO investigators tried to pass off 20 fake products as energy efficient and only two were examined by an independent party.

The Energy Star program began in 1992 and is overseen by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency. It aims to identify products that decrease greenhouse gas emissions and lower energy costs. Additionally, federal and state governments offer tax credits and other incentives to encourage the use of products that brandish the Energy Star label.

Federal officials agreed after the investigation that the rating program is vulnerable to fraud and abuse in large part because manufacturers conduct self-certifications and often their claims are not verified by an independent party.

Is your state offering incentives for buying "green" appliances? Do you still trust the Energy Star label? Let me know what you think...