New designation for products recognized as the most energy-efficient.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a new designation for products recognized as the most energy-efficient in their categories among those that have earned the ENERGY STAR label. This pilot program is part of ENERGY STAR’s overall commitment to protect people’s health and the environment by encouraging energy efficiency. The “Most Efficient” initiative also continues ENERGY STAR’s work to provide consumers with the best efficiency information so they can make investments that will lower their energy bills and environmental impact. The new designation of Most Efficient aims to provide all manufacturers with an incentive for greater product energy efficiency while providing consumers new information about the products that comprise the top tier in the categories.

Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC) announcement

The Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC) announced that it has been named an EPA-recognized Certification Body for roofing products for the ENERGY STAR program.  The CRRC will now offer ENERGY STAR certification as an additional service to its Product Rating Program.   On January 1, 2011 the ENERGY STAR program will be enhanced with several key changes to its procedures.  Previously, manufacturer “Partners” self-tested products and reported results directly to EPA to receive ENERGY STAR labeling for their products.  The enhanced ENERGY STAR program will require Partners to work with EPA-recognized Certification Bodies and test their products through EPA-recognized Laboratories.  The CRRC will offer ENERGY STAR certification as an additional service for manufacturers participating in their Product Rating Program.  In addition to the CRRC, other Certification Bodies approvd by ENERGY STAR for Roof Products are IAPMO R&T, Intertek, Keystone Certifications, and UL.

Updates to ENERGY STAR

As part of the changes being made to the ENERGY STAR programs, the EPA has created new certification requirements that each ENERGY STAR Partner (who has products listed under the Qualified Roof Program) must follow. ENERGY STAR has set a November 30, 2010 deadline for Partners to commit to the ENERGY STAR program and its new verification requirements. The recommitment process requires that partners commit to a) submitting their products for testing in an EPA-recognized laboratory, b) certification by an EPA-recognized Certification Body (CB), and other program requirements. When partners commit to the new specifications, they do not have to indicate which lab or CB they plan to use at this time. Partners will be asked to specify a CB for all of your currently listed ENERGY STAR products after January 1, 2011.

The Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC) is in the process of applying to become a CB for ENERGY STAR. To commit to the ENERGY STAR program, per the new rules, the primary or secondary ENERGY STAR contact for an existing Partner must log into the My ENERGY STAR Account (MESA) tool by visiting www.energystar.gov/mesa. Instructions on how to recommit will be provided on the MESA Welcome screen. Current Certification Bodies for the ENERGY STAR Roof Products program include IAPMO R&T (Ontario, CA), Intertek (Cortland, NY) and Keystone Certification (Etters, PA)

ENERGY STAR Roof Products Program will not be changing its test procedures.

At a recent meeting between the Cool Metal Roofing Coalition and the EPA, ENERGY STAR officials stated that amidst the number of changes being made to all 60 programs, the ENERGY STAR Roof Products Program would not be changing its test procedures. The current criteria of minimum solar reflectance values, both initial and aged, will remain in place, with no criteria for thermal emittance being added. In addition, the ENERGY STAR representatives told the Coalition that the products that are currently on the ENERGY STAR directory, including those that are submitted before Dec 31, 2010, will not be re-tested but “grandfathered” into the program. This was due to the lack of laboratory capacity, time and expense to re-test all products under the new procedures that will be implemented. The most significant change to the ENERGY STAR program will be the introduction of Certification Bodies taking on the role that EPA had played in the past, by administering the certification test protocols, processing all submission forms, verifying that products are being tested by accredited laboratories and that they meet the ENERGY STAR performance criteria. The final version of the revamped program is expected by the end of this year.

The EPA finalized their Conditions and Criteria for ENERGY STAR program

The EPA finalized their Conditions and Criteria for Recognition of Certification Bodies (CB) for the ENERGY STAR program. An application for EPA recognition of CBs will be available on the energystar.gov website in the coming weeks. In the new ENERGY STAR program, CBs will be responsible for certifying the performance of Partners, reviewing labeling plans, reporting certified data and performance to EPA, and administering the verification program. Certification Bodies are required for administering Witnessed Manufacturers Testing Laboratories and Supervised Manufacturer Testing Laboratories, provided the laboratories are EPA accredited. Applications for Accreditation Bodies and a list of currently recognized ABs is currently on the website. EPA is currently updating ENERGY STAR partner commitments and eligibility criteria in light of the new testing and verification requirements. The updates are expected to be finalized by early October.

Must now submit complete lab reports

The EPA and DOE announced that participants in the ENERGY STAR program must now submit complete lab reports and results for review by the EPA and be granted product approval prior to carrying the label. This requirement is not specific to using third party independent laboratory testing but that is expected to follow later this year.  All products will be subject to ongoing verification testing to ensure they continue to meet ENERGY STAR requirements over time.  Additional changes and strengthening of the ENERGY STAR program is expected later this year

Specific enhancements being considered for the ENERGY STAR Roof Products Program

The EPA held a webinar on April 6 to discuss the specific enhancements being considered for the ENERGY STAR Roof Products Program.   Some of the recommendations from EPA included

  • The use of a qualified third party entity to administer the qualification and verification testing program. This entity would work with manufacturers to test products.
  • Testing of products would be done in selected qualified independent laboratories
  • For Qualification testing (initial submissions) a third party independent laboratory would be used, but in-house laboratories could also be used under specific controls established by EPA.
  • For Verification testing (audits) only a third party independent laboratory would be allowed for the testing.  All products would have to be tested at least once every three years.

EPA announced a fast track to collect comments from the Roofing Industry, modify the program if necessary and launch the changes by this summer.

Agreement designed to enhance the ENERGY STAR Program

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy have announced an agreement designed to enhance the ENERGY STAR Program. The  enhancements to the program were described during a webinar on March 26.   The Roof products program would be changed by these enhancements through new Qualification Testing and Verification Testing procedures.  Accredited laboratories would be required for all testing of solar reflectance values.  In-house laboratories may be allowed but EPA is still considering this aspect of the program.  Existing products would have to be tested in the Verification Testing phase at least once every three years.  A Challenge Testing program is being discussed that would allow for a company to challenge the qualified products of another company. Third party administrators would be required for all submissions of test data to EPA.

A specific webinar on the Roof Products ENERGY STAR program and the enhancements being proposed will take place on April 6 at 11:00 am Eastern.

EPA and DOE Memorandum of Understanding

EPA and DOE officials clarified terms of the new MOU between the two organizations during a November 6 conference call with ENERGY STAR Partners.  The new arrangement between the two groups will create single goals, budgets, leadership and programs related to the ENEGY STAR program. There will be one single contact person for questions and concerns.
The EPA will be the lead Agency managing the ENERGY STAR program.   DOE will lead the development of product testing procedures and metrics with EPA assisting. EPA will maintain product testing results data and establish performance levels for ENERGY STAR products.
The DOE will be the lead Agency on the National Building Rating program, with support from EPA..
The ENERGY STAR program will continue to identify top performing cost effective products, homes and buildings. The National Building Rating program will provide efficiency ratings and assessments of cost-effective improvements for homes and buildings.  ENERGY STAR will establish criteria for a top tier ENERGY STAR labeled product called “ENERGY Super Star”.
More information can be found at http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/news/progress_alerts.cfm/pa_id=247

New Agreement between EPA and DOE

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy have announced an agreement designed to enhance the ENERGY STAR Program. Anticipated enhancements to the products program include expanded coverage, more frequent specification updates, enhanced efforts on product testing and a new effort to recognize super efficient products. The new agreement also lays out clear roles and responsibilities for the agencies.
The agreement should have minimal effect on manufacturers of ENERGY STAR products.  EPA and DOE have committed to developing a proposed plan for ENERGY STAR program enhancements for 2010. This plan, which will address anticipated new product categories, priority areas for specification revision and a proposal to address product verification, will be made available for stakeholder comment no later than November 30, 2009. The new “top tier” program will be addressed as part of the first annual partnership plan in January, 2010 and will involve market research with expert input from brand strategy consultants as a first step.
Any proposed program enhancements will be shared and vetted through the traditional ENERGY STAR stakeholder process. Further, the agencies recognize that specific verification requirements will need to be tailored based on product categories. Reasonable transition time will be provided before instituting new requirements specific to enhanced verification.
EPA will host a conference call on November 12, 2009, 1-2pm Eastern Time to walk through agreement highlights and field stakeholder questions. The call in information is 866-299-3188, access code is 202-343-9120#. EPA anticipates sharing slides with stakeholders prior to this call.