Energy Star Disadvantages

Infographic regarding home efficiency.
  • Beginner

Energy Star is a program that rates the energy efficiency of consumer products and building materials. It was first introduced by the United States in the early 1990s. Other countries such as Canada and New Zealand soon began to adopt the energy star rating system. It has now developed into somewhat of an international standard. Purchasing an appliance with the energy star sticker, in the United States, means the appliance will save the consumer anywhere between 20 to 30% more energy than what the government currently deems as efficient. Taking a closer look at the energy star rating systems, the following disadvantages must be considered.

1. Unreliability

Purchasing an energy star rated appliance is sometimes more costly. You purchase the appliance under the preconceived notion that you will save a great deal of money on the utilization of this rated appliance as compared to a less expensive, non-rated product for energy star efficiency. The claims you read and see regarding the energy star cost savings may be unreliable. Many of the benefits that have been discussed and broadcasted are hard to verify and cannot be accurately measured. So be aware that in purchasing a new energy star appliance, you may not be saving as much in energy or in money as you had anticipated.

2. Reduction of greenhouse gases

Energy savings button on a washing machine

For the environmentally-conscious consumer, you purchase an energy star rated appliance or consumer good based on the fact you will be helping the environment and reducing harmful greenhouse gases. As late as an audit performed in 2008, the program is coming under fire and scrutiny for the claims they have made regarding the reduction of greenhouse gases. The benefits from Energy Star may not be as fully understood as the committee once thought because of a lack of empirical and independently verifiable data.

3. Loopholes in ratings

Forgetting about unreliability for a second, energy star ratings can be obtained for individual appliances if you know how to circumvent some of the rules. For example, one test has shown the efficiency of a refrigerator. The refrigerator received a fantastic energy star rating. However, during the testing process, the refrigerator’s ice maker was turned off. It is fairly unrealistic to think that most households use their refrigerator with the ice maker turned off.

4 - Out-dated testing rules

pushing a button on an appliance

The rules and regulations for testing an energy star appliance are slow to evolve and change. Developed in the early 1990s, the ratings and regulations have not changed much since then. Therefore, the regulations become outdated and the benefits from an energy star rating are less known.

5. Lack of independent results

Manufacturers are generally responsible for testing their own products. There are no rules or regulations that require a manufacturer to provide independent results that verify their test results. Testing their own results may and do cause misleading statements and product ratings to consumers.