In the US, we're supposed to be the worldwide masters of consumerism. But as pointed out by Pop Mech, our Energy Star guidelines are not just inaccurate, they fail to compare one product to any other product. There's no context.
Meanwhile, take a trip pretty much anywhere else in the world and things change:
Looking at an EU dishwasher label...The machine is rated not only on total energy and water consumption, but also on cleaning performance, drying performance, size and noise. At a glance, consumers get a sense of how this dishwasher stacks up against every other dishwasher on the market....The American EnergyGuide label lists the manufacturer-submitted annual kilowatt-hours consumption estimate, compares that to the other manufacturer-submitted estimates, then crunches those numbers with another set of assumptions to project how much money it might cost to operate the machine for a year. It's up to the shopper standing on the dishwasher aisle to figure out whether 100 or 1000 kilowatt-hours per year is a reasonable cost for clean plates.
Basically, the rest of the world gets a free issue of Consumer Reports on the label of every appliance they're about to buy. We're left needing a subscription. [Popular Mechanics]