The Environmental Protection Agency‘s decision to give the Energy Star program a bit of a makeover is not sitting pretty with their industry partners – the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is up in arms with the EPA’s choice to not only loosen the Energy Star certification criteria, but also introduce new third party fees. The Energy Star program sets the standards for energy-efficient products in homes, offices, and buildings all over America, however these changes could tarnish their industry-leading reputation.

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Appliances approved by the Energy Star program use nearly 20 to 30% less energy than average, with the EPA boasting about $14 billion saved in costs in 2006 alone. In lieu of their annual budget meeting this week, the EPA is proposing to broaden their scope by including non-energy related criteria for the program. While potentially increasing products and sales, the inclusion of non-energy related rules may undermine the project’s aim and participants’ goals. The EPA may also introduce a third party certification program, imposing additional costs and burdens to manufacturers and industry partners.

The Energy Star program’s certification process was already under fire two years ago when a number of fake products, including a gasoline-powered alarm clock, received the seal of approval. The CEA is concerned for the direction of the Energy Star program, as the EPA’s loosened criteria could attract substandard manufacturers while the third party fees could dissuade qualified producers from participating in the program at all.

+ Energy Star