LG Electronics USA has enlisted UL Environment, a subsidiary of Underwriters Laboratories, to evaluate the manufacturer’s water- and energy-consumption claims for its major appliance and CE products.
LG is the first CE/majap vendor to enroll in the lab’s Environmental Claims Validation program, which is designed to provide manufacturers with a new source for independent, third-party “green” claims validation.
The partnership comes nearly a year after LG agreed to make in-home and in-store modifications on 22 models of French door refrigerators that were incorrectly certified as Energy Star compliant, and to compensate consumers for the difference in energy usage between the stated and amended ratings for the life of the products.
LG said the error was inadvertent and due to outdated testing procedures that don’t account for new appliance technologies.
The discrepancy was brought to light
last year by Consumer Reports, which found that energy consumption in real-life situations differs from the test standards set by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), which administers the Energy Star program with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The magazine also reported that appliance manufacturers conduct their own Energy Star certification tests with little oversight from DOE, which, due to budgetary constraints, relies on vendors to monitor their competitors’ products.
The DOE acknowledged the lack of majap oversight in an internal audit that was submitted to Energy Secretary Steven Chu last month, according to the New York Times. And the EPA, which is tasked with monitoring energy consumption claims for TVs and computers, conceded last December that Energy Star ratings were similarly inaccurate and unverifiable for those products, the newspaper reported.
The DOE, which presently requires third-party evaluations of windows and certain lighting products, has committed with the EPA to having all products under their purview evaluated by certified independent labs, the Times said.
The need for accurate energy-usage assessments has become all the more pressing as the DOE prepares to release $300 million in efficient appliance rebate funds to all 50 states.
To date, UL Environment has corroborated LG’s energy- and water-savings claims for its WM3001HWA SteamWasher, and for the overall energy consumption of its 47LH90 LCD TV in both on and standby power modes.
The test models were all purchased at retail.
Lab results showed that the SteamWasher uses a minimum of 50 percent less water and energy than Energy Star requirements effective July 1, 2009, and exceeds 2011 requirements for energy consumption by at least 35 percent and water consumption by at least 40 percent, LG said.
The LCD TV uses a minimum of 70 percent less energy than required by Energy Star 3.0 requirements in standby mode, lab tests showed, and consumes a minimum of 40 percent less energy in the on mode than Energy Star 3.0 requirements, the manufacturer said.
“Using this comprehensive UL Environment third-party testing program to validate environmental claims such as energy and water efficiency will instill further confidence in our products’ performance and will help maintain consumers’ confidence in voluntary programs such as Energy Star,” said Teddy Hwang, president of LG Electronics USA.
LG said it intends to expand its participation in the UL Environment program to cover other product lines including refrigerator-freezers, dish washers, plasma TVs and Blu-ray Disc players.
UL Environment president Steve Wenc said the validation program’s rigorous, independent testing process “brings a new level of confidence to consumers to make informed purchase decisions when shopping for energy efficient products,” while differentiating manufacturers in the increasingly competitive “green” product space.