The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is soliciting input on the Draft Conditions and Criteria for Recognition of Certification Bodies for the ENERGY STAR Program. It is EPA’s intent to require manufacturer partners across all eligible categories to have their ENERGY STAR products certified by an EPA-recognized Certification Body (CB).

The Draft Certification and Verification Requirements document outlines how certification bodies will qualify products and verify their performance. These draft requirements build on the previous two draft documents describing requirements for laboratories and accreditation bodies (ABs). The revised timeline attached describes the key milestones for 2010. Please note that for new ENERGY STAR products, testing must be conducted in EPA-recognized laboratories effective by the end of 2010.

By September, EPA will propose revisions to each of the ENERGY STAR product-specific program requirements to incorporate the third-party certification requirement. EPA’s pursuit of this significant change at this time, shifting the ENERGY STAR program from a self-certification to a third-party certification approach, is driven by our commitment to preserve consumer confidence in the ENERGY STAR label and protect the significant value it offers program partners. Third-party certification delivers additional potential benefits, including allowing for broader use of in-house labs and addressing stakeholder concerns regarding the sharing of information with EPA prior to the release of products to the market.

Under a third-party certification requirement, manufacturer partners must have an EPA-recognized CB certify that their products meets all applicable ENERGY STAR performance parameters prior to the products being labeled as ENERGY STAR qualified. Other partner requirements EPA expects to propose as part of product-specific include:
  • Products would have to be tested in an EPA-recognized laboratory.
  • In the event that there were changes that affected the performance of the product with respect to the relevant ENERGY STAR program requirements, the partner would have to report these changes to the CB and EPA. Further, the partner would have to demonstrate, through re-testing in an EPA-recognized laboratory, that the product continued to meet the ENERGY STAR requirements in order to maintain its ENERGY STAR qualification.
  • Manufacturers would have to authorize the CB to share the results of any relevant testing or product review with EPA.
Note that these and any other product-specific considerations will be addressed within each of the product specifications rather than in this general document. Important proposed requirements for EPA-recognized CBs include:
  • Maintaining accreditation to ISO/IEC Guide 65 by a signatory to the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) Multilateral Recognition Agreement (MLA);
  • Reviewing the test results of each product intended for ENERGY STAR qualification, and certifying that these products meet ENERGY STAR program requirements;
  • Ensuring that laboratories providing test data are recognized by EPA and that the personnel conducting the testing are properly trained and qualified;
  • Reporting information on certified products to EPA. EPA will establish the information it needs in order to make qualified product lists available; and,
  • Operating a verification testing program, a challenge testing program, and a product specification audit.
Feedback on these Draft Certification and Verification Requirements is due to ENERGYSTARVerificationProgram@energystar.gov by June 25, 2010, noting, “Draft Certification and Verification Requirements,” in the subject line of the e-mail. EPA plans to publish these stakeholder comments on its Web site, and address additional comments in the key issue and response document.