You may have heard about the recent investigation conducted by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) on Energy Star rated appliances, which found that the Energy Star program is vulnerable to fraud and abuse.

This Energy Star program began in 1992, managed by the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Appliances with Energy Star ratings are said to use less energy and release less pollutants. Because government tax credits are available for consumers who purchase Energy Star products, $300 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is expected to be used for this purpose.

To test the reliability of the Energy Star rating, GAO submitted 20 fictitious products with energy-saving claims. Of these 20 products, 15 were accepted by the Energy Star program, proving that the program is vulnerable to fraud and abuse. The program does not verify energy-saving data submitted by manufacturers, which means manufacturers are basically self-certificating their products. To read the entire report from GAO, click here.

What does this mean for consumers like you who are trying to make your home more energy efficient? It means that you should still strive to purchase products with Energy Star ratings. Though the program might have certified products that aren’t truly energy efficient in the past, the program agreed to strengthen the program with a more rigorous screening process. To read how EPA and DOE plan to make the program more efficient in the future, click here.

This investigation is wholly positive for consumers like you, because from now on, you can rest assured that a close eye will be kept on items that pass with an Energy Star rating. The program will be stronger than ever, as will the energy efficiency levels of the products. If you still have a hard time trusting the program, research a product before you purchase it to find out the average energy usage that it uses per year. Don’t give up on saving energy and receiving tax credits for doing so!

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