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Letter to the Dept of Energy regarding Energy Star labeling

October 16, 2009
Dr. Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20585
Dear Dr. Chu:
Consumers Union, the non-profit publisher of Consumer Reports, has been a long-time advocate of enforcing and improving Energy Star labeling for energy efficient appliances. During routine product testing, Consumers Union has discovered large inaccuracies in energy-usage labeling for several appliance models and have brought these misleading claims to the attention of the Department of Energy.
Consumers Union is pleased to note the Department’s October 14, 2009 notice in the Federal Register of its intention to increase enforcement of appliance standards and review manufacturer compliance with Energy Star certification requirements. We believe that this is an important first step in ensuring Energy Star labeling is meaningful and helpful to consumers. Consumers’ Union’s related press released is attached.
Consumers rely on energy-usage labeling in choosing energy efficient products, and such labels are only effective if they are reliable. Consumers Union urges the Department to continue to strengthen and update its efficiency standards for Energy Star labeled products and broaden the scope of Energy Star labeling to additional appliances. In addition, in order to increase compliance, Consumers Union advocates for third-party certification of compliance conducted by independent, accredited testing laboratories combined with DOE spot checking of Energy Star and energy-usage claims by manufacturers. We appreciate your attention to this important consumer issue and request the opportunity to meet with appropriate officials at DOE to further discuss strengthening the Energy Star program.
Shannon Baker-Branstetter
Policy Analyst, Consumers Union
Cc: Scott Harris, General Counsel
Letter and Enclosure in PDF format.