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Energy Star Program Certifies 15 Out of 20 Bogus Products 275

longacre writes "A Gasoline-Powered Alarm Clock was among 15 bogus products granted the coveted Energy Star seal of approval by the US Environmental Protection Agency during a secret evaluation conducted by the Government Accountability Office. In addition, four fictional manufacturers run by fake people and marketed with crummy websites — Cool Rapport (HVAC equipment), Futurizon Solar Innovations (lighting), Spartan Digital Electronics, and Tropical Thunder Appliances — were granted Energy Star partnerships. The root of the problem: Manufacturers need only submit photos and not actual examples of their products, and they submit their own efficiency ratings, which are not independently verified by the EPA."
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Energy Star Program Certifies 15 Out of 20 Bogus Products

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  • by bfmorgan ( 839462 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @07:40PM (#31634220)
    I have long thought that some of the devices with the energy star label were not that energy saving. Now I know.
  • by Ant P. ( 974313 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @07:51PM (#31634336) Homepage

    IIRC there was a front page story a long time ago about this; it was about some HDTVs that got this label which used obscene amounts of power even when they were turned "off".

  • by petermgreen ( 876956 ) <> on Friday March 26, 2010 @08:04PM (#31634446) Homepage

    That one was more a methodology issue than a fraud issue. Energy star only set standards for when the TV was in regular standby and when it was running, not for when it was "in standby but trying to update the EPG and so the tuner is on". Furthermore it turned out that some TVs could spend a LOT of time in this state.

  • by moosesocks ( 264553 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @08:11PM (#31634516) Homepage

    As somebody who works for the government, I take your comment as a personal insult.

    If anything, the efficiency of the government is greater than private industry, thanks to the intense level of scrutiny we're put through. (If anything, the extensive accountability measures that we have to undergo are the one thing that hinders our efficiency)

  • Re:Like patents (Score:3, Informative)

    by Hadlock ( 143607 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @08:44PM (#31634802) Homepage Journal

    It was only two months ago the THX certification lost all meaning [] due to lack of testing.

  • by Gorimek ( 61128 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @08:55PM (#31634902) Homepage

    One of the main mechanisms in "Regulatory capture" is that in order to have competent regulators, they must be hired from the same skill pool as the people working in the industry.

    So the main career path for those working at the watchdog agency is to work for one of the companies they're overseeing, or less commonly, the other direction. This will at least breed an atmosphere of "being on the same team", and also gives strong incentives to outright corruption.

  • Re:Like patents (Score:5, Informative)

    by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @09:35PM (#31635338) Journal

    Actually, I can't think of a single seal of approval, or certification, that means anything.

    I'll expand your mind then. Try the UL [] and the NFPA [] seals and listings.

    Of course if something is not up to spec (lets say a manufacturer certified with one material and used another in production), then most people have a right to sue the manufacturers for not following the standards they were certified under as well as it being known that the problem wasn't the certification but the production afterward.

  • Re:Like patents (Score:5, Informative)

    by Idarubicin ( 579475 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @10:14PM (#31635738) Journal

    Actually, I can't think of a single seal of approval, or certification, that means anything.

    Underwriters Laboratories [].

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @10:40PM (#31635948) Journal
    Sometimes both directions. It isn't called the "revolving door" for nothing...
  • by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @10:53PM (#31636064) Journal

    You are missing the point. The reason government here can't fix potholes is because conservative business leaders have consistently pushed just the idea you expressed and managed to successfully disguise it as a populist, libertarian movement. Over time this becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. Blah blah blah

    That's not the point in reality at all. The people who use the roads pay taxes on their gasoline in exchange for using the roads, this gas tax money has been used for so many different things then for the roads that it's pathetic. And each time it's done this way, it is done by a democrat, not some conservative business leader. I mean hell, in my area, they just spent millions from the road fund purchasing land and building a bike path on it. This bike path doesn't even go near the industrial sites, businesses, or anything, they made a fucking scenic route around town.

    In fact, the so called conservative business people that you are talking about have little to do with anything you or the previous poster has said. It's incompetence from all sides in government that cause these problems. It's Unions that protect crappy unproductive workers while demanding extra pay and benefits. It's unnecessary regulation and in some cases over regulation aligned with poor regulation that causes projects to cost more to accomplish. It's politicians squandering money for things that people do not want. In my state, they just had to do a bunch of budget cuts and stop a tax break from taking effect in order to pass a balances fiscal budget, In two years, they expect the budget to be deficient at least 12 billion dollars and some have estimated it up to 24 billion or more.

    And do I see the state legislature curbing spending or attempting to streamline government? Hell no, they are talking about taking a 200 million dollar per year liability onto the budget just to get low speed rail connecting one side of the state to another that wouldn't even be scheduled properly for anything productive. It's idiots like that which cause potholes in roads not to be patched promptly. Hell, we were going to chip seal a couple roads in the township using volunteer labor and the state refused to place them under the townships insurance policy because they weren't paid a full wage. The only way you can volunteer for a government project in my state is to become part of the state program which means you have to approve all project through the state, the volunteers could be called into work for other areas and could be required to get specialized training in areas they do no want to work in. That's really efficient there isn't it. I mean hell, we had trucks lined up, a spreader, a tar sprayer and everything all donated from the community for use in repairing these roads and the democrat controlled state house shut it down because it doesn't give the unions another employee.

    The fact that this was discovered by the GAO, also a government agency, shows that regulation and oversight can and does have beneficial results. Now just imagine what a new Consumer Protection Agency as envisioned by the Democrats could do.

    So there was oversight from a separate government agency after 15 year? The energy star program started in 1992 and you think this is some major accomplishment that we should expand the power government has because of some party line crap spouted to you? You need to wake up and stop drinking the cool-aid. And do not even attempt to claim that conservatives were in charge since then because that's factually incorrect.

    How about starting with oversight within the actual department that is issuing fraudulent certifications or getting rid of the certifications altogether? I mean this is the entire reasoning of the report and why the EPA submitted bogus claims to be certified. In the GAO report, it said that the EPA didn't even verify the certifications it requested when the GAO submitted it's a certification supposedly from one

  • wow! Nicely done! (Score:5, Informative)

    by CFD339 ( 795926 ) <[andrewp] [at] []> on Friday March 26, 2010 @10:53PM (#31636066) Homepage Journal

    I'm a firefighter and I've seen these guys work. They sent someone out to test our 75 foot ladder -- and the guy spent two days with magnets, iron dust, and a damn magnifying glass going over every single inch of the metal -- he found half a dozen micro stress cracks, marked them, and we were able to have them welded and re-checked.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 27, 2010 @12:59AM (#31636984)

    Wow as a Canadian please let me politely state - taxes on income do not support only health care. Oh and yes I'm in one of the higher paying tax brackets.

    Just in case you missed the the point. Your argument as it refers to the Canadian tax system and it's support rate for health care is a feces loaded sandwich that your are willingly chomping down on without much research or independent thought.

  • Canadians are taxed on their income for healthcare at a tune of anywhere from 40% to 60%, yet they still have waiting lists - even for necessary surgery.

    Yes, some Canadians might pay between 40% and 60% of their income as taxes. However, unless you think that 100% of all tax revenue funds healthcare, your numbers are completely out to lunch. Either I've been trolled, or you need to learn a few more things.

  • by Uberbah ( 647458 ) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @05:58AM (#31638030)

    The reason your telecommunications cost so much? You live in NYC. The reason for the shittiest service ever? You Live in NYC!

    Right, right. Except when we complain how shitty our telecommunications service is in the United States compared to other nations, the excuse given is that the U.S. is far more rural than Asian or European countries with far faster services. Except if you happen to live in a densely populated urban area in the U.S., then you have shitty, overpriced services because you live in a highly populated area.


  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Monday March 29, 2010 @03:02AM (#31654072) Homepage Journal

    Because you picked out one part of my argument and found that in reality what should happen, doesn't (and hey wait, it was discovered by the government) does a) not invalidate the entire argument and b) does not show that government doesn't work. At least they're able to find the flaws in their own system. I fail to see how corporations are any better or worse in this respect.

BLISS is ignorance.