According to a press release sent this morning, the Department of Energy (DOE) issued subpoenas to three companies to investigate the manufacture or sale of torchiere (upward facing) lamps that may violate federal efficiency standards. Two of the three companies: Target Corporation and Addesso, Inc. are private labelers of lamps manufactured by Habitex Corporation. All three could be on the hook for lamps that fail to meet the minimum federal standard.
NRDC did a web search for products advertised as using more power than is allowed by federal standards. We found and bought Target and Adesso labeled lamps that were advertised as using 300W. We tested each model with a standard wattage meter and found that they could use more than two times the allowed 190W—with no evidence that the lamps employed a current restrictor to limit power consumption.
We sent this information on to DOE, and are very pleased to see they are taking steps to act on it. Appliances that don’t meet the minimum efficiency standards waste money and cause unnecessary pollution.
DOE has indicated that it will be ramping up testing for energy efficiency standard enforcement and ENERGY STAR. Increased testing is crucial to meaningful standards and labeling programs. The torchieres that we found are likely only the tip of the iceberg of energy wasting appliances.