A recent EPA Inspector General (IG) report has criticized the agency’s efforts in implementing the voluntary Energy Star Program, which was designed to help businesses and individuals enhance energy efficiency. According to the report, the program has become inconsistent with its authorized purpose, that is, to achieve environmental benefits by identifying and promoting energy-efficient products and practices that meet energy conservation standards.

The report alleges that in implementing the program, EPA has sought to maximize the number of qualified products available at the expense of identifying products and practices that maximize energy efficiency. It charges that, as a result, EPA cannot ensure that (i) the purchase of Energy Star products and adoption of Energy Star practices actually deliver the energy or greenhouse gas (GHG) savings that the agency reports annually, or (ii) consumers are purchasing the most energy-efficient products on the market.

The report recommends that EPA develop a strategic vision and program designed to ensure that the Energy Star label represents superior energy conservation performance and a set of goals with valid and reliable measures to accurately inform shareholders and the public about the program’s benefits.