You know that familiar Energy Star label that seems to show up on everything from your computer to your washing machine and dryer? It's the little blue square with the star inside, and it's become a rather ubiquitous sight over the last decade or so as the desire to save energy and be environmentally conscious has firmly entrenched itself into the hearts and minds of the American populace.

But what exactly does a product need to prove to earn the coveted Energy Star label? That very question was put to the test last June by Congressional auditors posing as four separate companies submitting products to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Energy Department, which jointly run the Energy Star program. The results were enlightening.

For instance, a gasoline-powered alarm clock sailed through the program without objection after purposely fraudulent documents were submitted saying it was 20-percent more efficient than competing models. How'd that happen? Apparently, there is an automated system in place that granted an auto-approval to the gas-swilling wake-up machine.

According to The New York Times, the Energy Department has promised to make sure all products that wear the Energy Star label are properly tested by an independent group. In the meantime, we're gonna take a quick little nap in our super-efficient gasoline-powered alarm clocks cars... just five more minutes!

[Source: The New York Times via Engadget]

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