Sunday, April 13, 2008

What if ENERGY STAR Took Its Efforts a Bit Further?

Most of us have probably heard of the ENERGY STAR program, a joint venture by the DOE and EPA to promote energy efficient products and buildings. The public face of the program typically comes in the form of an ENERGY STAR logo sticker placed on products that meet the program's design requirements (see image below). I doubt that many people know the details behind ENERGY STAR ratings, so I primarily view the program as a way for consumers to feel better about the purchases they decide to make. This is definitely a good thing, though we have discussed in class that when energy efficiency is not coupled with high energy cost, total consumption may not decline.

So here's a thought. What if there was a similar program to label products that are have particularly BAD energy efficiency? Maybe it could use something like the graphic I created below? I bet that if the government mandated such a program, companies would scramble to make sure their product wasn't required to have a brown frowney face stuck to it.

I believe that ENERGY STAR is a good program for its simplicity, directness, and combined emphasis on the environmental and economic benefits of energy conservation. However, I feel that at least as much attention should be brought to products that ignore the energy and environmental crises that threaten our planet and our way of life.


jason h said...

A very neat idea. It reminds me of the film Thank You for Smoking where congress is trying to require cigarette manufactures to print a skull and crossbones poison graphic on the cigarette boxes.
I wonder if, Refrigerator Lobby...would send their own fast-talking spokesman to change everyone's minds.

J.T. Marsh said...

I still need to catch "Thank You for Smoking," but your comment reminds me that this idea of a "feel bad" campaign has been in place for years in Canada. All Canadian cigarette packs must feature disgusting images of the health effects of smoking. The link below discusses these efforts and gives some example images.