The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a new Energy Star programme to identify the most efficient products with the Energy Star label. The programme will start this year, on a pilot basis, with clothes washers, heating and cooling equipment, televisions, and fridge-freezers.
According to the EPA “Product categories were selected and recognition criteria were established to ensure that products that receive this recognition demonstrate efficiency performance that is truly exceptional, inspirational, or leading edge — consistent with the interests of environmentally-motivated consumers and early adopters”.
It’s an interesting development that, hopefully, will eventually include green ICT products. The problem with the Energy Star labelling system is that there’s currently no incentive for manufacturers to do more than reach a minimum requirement. The EPA can up the criteria over time, but there’s no challenge to do better. The ‘Most Efficient’ label will help, by giving the best performers more recognition.
The alternative would be to have various levels of achievement, as is the case with the EPEAT Gold, Silver and Bronze certification for green IT equipment – I guess the ‘Most Efficient’ label is a step in this direction. Better still would be to simply have a ranking of comparable products, showing the most energy efficient. I wouldn’t like to be the person responsible for that, though.