Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Energy Star

In a conversation with Noumenon, I mentioned that thatched roofs were energy-efficient enough to receive an energy star rating. Noumenon said that the energy star rating had been captured by the corporations and was essentially meaningless. As is my wont to do, I came up with a solution for the capture problem. Give the energy star label only to the top 20% of products. In such a manner, the market would become self-policing and self-improving. Companies seeking the energy star rating would have to prove that their product is more efficient than their competitors', and their competitors would have an incentive to (a) improve their products to retain their rating, and (b) check that their competitor really is more energy efficient.


Blogger Noumenon said...

Found a free version of the article.

"While the designation was originally supposed to apply to the 25% of products in any category that were most energy-efficient, the label is on 85% of all new dishwashers and 98% of desktop computers, suggesting the testing takes place at Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon, where all children, too, are above average."

Good policy is like an antibiotic. The things it fights evolve and change faster than it can keep up, and might even come to thrive better in its presence.

10:09 AM  

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