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Fake Gasoline-Powered Alarm Clock Secures Energy Star Label

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

Fake Gasoline-Powered Alarm Clock Secures Energy Star Label

by Ariel Schwartz, 03/26/10

energy star, department of energy, energy efficiency, alarm clock, auditors, epa, green design

Apparently, it’s a piece of cake to get Energy Star-certified — just ask the Congressional auditors who received approval for a number of ridiculous fake products, including a gasoline-powered alarm clock and an air purifier consisting of a space heater with a feather duster on top. Other fake products, including a dehumidifier, dishwasher, and computer monitor, were accepted into the program with no questions asked about fake qualifications (i.e. energy efficiency data).

Does this mean we should question all Energy Star labels? No — most companies aren’t in the business of submitting fake products to the Energy Star program — but the auditing process does indicate that Energy Star officials accept qualifications without doing background research. The New York Times noted that the “ease with which the auditors had fooled the program suggested that consumers and agencies that rely on the logo were paying extra for products that might not actually save energy“.

Fortunately, Energy Star isn’t the only green certification program available. The Energy Department recently agreed to set up a system of independent verification for products, starting with refrigerators, freezers, clothes washers, dishwashers, water heaters and air-conditioners. Gasoline-powered alarm clocks need not apply.

Original Post from Inhabitat

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Green Office Challenge Program Expands Across the U.S.

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

  • The Green Office Challenge, a program created by city of Chicago and ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA, is being adopted by four new local governments—Arlington County, Va.; city of Charleston, S.C.; Nashville, Tenn.; and San Diego/Port of San Diego. ICLEI selected these pilot communities to develop the challenge, a program that engages property managers and office tenants in a friendly competition to save money and reduce energy use in their buildings, as well as reduce waste, save water and reach other environmental goals.

    Because of its innovative model and its success in Chicago (where it was launched in 2009), many local governments have expressed interest in the Green Office Challenge. ICLEI is working to make the program replicable for local governments across the country. A first step is to develop the program in these four pilot communities, which will receive guidance and technical support from ICLEI.

    “We are delighted to expand the program beyond Chicago to help these four communities build on the impressive initiatives they already have in place to grow a green economy and promote sustainability,” says Amy Malick, program manager for ICLEI USA. “We selected Arlington County, Charleston, Nashville and San Diego because each local government demonstrated they are already leaders on local climate, energy and sustainability issues; they already have the staff expertise, resources, commitment, and political will from elected officials necessary to achieve success and maintain the program over the long term.”

    What differentiates the Green Office Challenge from other local programs to green business operations? Competition and recognition. Office tenants and property managers are more likely to participate in a fun and friendly competition that requires keeping score. They are further motivated to win and receive an award from the city and recognition in the media—branding themselves as environmental leaders.

    The four pilot communities will launch the Green Office Challenge to their business communities this fall. Each local government has elicited strong support for the challenge from local businesses; other organizations will play roles in the programs’ development and promotion, including chambers of commerce, trade associations, local environmental committees and utility companies.

    Since many other local governments beyond the four pilots seek to start their own program (St. Louis and Westchester County, N.Y., have already launched theirs) ICLEI is developing an implementation guidebook and creating a Green Office Challenge network for local government staff to share ideas, questions and challenges through monthly conference calls.

    To learn more about how the Challenge works, why ICLEI and city of Chicago created it and which businesses have participated in the existing Chicago program, download ICLEI’s Green Office Challenge FAQ, visit the Chicago Green Office Challenge Web site or ICLEI USA’s Green Office Challenge Web page.

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Green Office Challenge Program Expands Across the U.S.

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