GAO submitted a few non-existant products to test the EnergyStar program. Some notable results:
Gas-Powered Alarm Clock:
Product description indicated the clock is the size of a small generator and is powered by gasoline.
Product was approved by Energy Star without a review of the company Web site or questions of the claimed efficiencies.
Geothermal Heat Pump:
Energy use data reported was more efficient than any product listed as certified on the Energy Star Web site at the time of submission.
High-energy efficiency data was not questioned by Energy Star.
Product is eligible for federal tax credits and state rebate programs.
Product was approved by Energy Star within 30 minutes of submission.
Private firms contacted GAO’s fictitious firm to purchase products based on participation in the Energy Star program.
Self-certified product was submitted, qualified, and listed on the Energy Star Web site within 24 hours.
Product is eligible for federal tax credits and state rebates.