The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized revisions to the ENERGY STAR Partner Commitments and Product Specifications to implement third-party certification requirements for ENERGY STAR qualified products..

The Revised ENERGY STAR Partner Commitments and Product Specifications

On September 14, 2010, EPA shared with stakeholders updated Partner Commitments for each product category to support third-party certification requirements. At this time, EPA also proposed a limited set of refinements and formatting changes to the Eligibility Criteria (i.e., Product Specifications) and Test Methods for most ENERGY STAR product categories, with the intention of ensuring a clear and effective product qualification process. EPA reviewed, and in many cases, made changes in response to stakeholder comments on these documents. Stakeholder comments and the draft and final requirements can be found by visiting www.energystar.gov/testingandverification. In addition, a summary of major comments received and EPA’s response to each of these is attached to this letter. The revised Partner Commitments and Product Specifications become active on January 1, 2011.

Recommitting to the Revised ENERGY STAR Partner Commitments and Product Specifications

EPA revised the Partner Commitments to include participation in third-party certification for the ENERGY STAR program. By recommitting, your organization is agreeing to abide by these new Program Requirements beginning on January 1, 2011. All organizations that wish to continue their partnership with EPA to manufacture and label products as ENERGY STAR must acknowledge their understanding and acceptance of these program changes. Recommitment must take place by November 30, 2010 to avoid partnership interruption. To recommit, 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. If your organization is unable to access the MESA tool, please contact the ENERGY STAR Hotline at 1-888-STAR-YES (1-888-782-7937) or hotline@energystar.gov. Please see the attached Questions and Answers document for more information on this important process.

Qualifying Products as ENERGY STAR

Submissions Received by EPA on or Prior to December 31, 2010. Partners may continue to submit eligible products to EPA using the existing system of a Qualified Product Information (QPI) form or the Online Product Submittal (OPS) tool through December 31, 2010. EPA must receive complete and correct submissions, including lab reports, by December 31, 2010 in order for the product submission to be processed by the Agency. To assist partners with preparing complete and accurate product submissions before this cut-off date, EPA has compiled the most common reasons for submittal rejection:
  • Missing the lab report cover sheet. To download this required document, please visit www.energystar.gov/labreport.
  • Missing required information in the lab report, including signatures. Please visit www.energystar.gov/labreport for information on the lab report requirements.
  • The test data provided in the lab report does not match the data reported in the QPI form or OPS submission.
  • Missing or incorrect equipment calibration data in the lab report.
  • Missing or incorrect serial number(s) in the lab report cover sheet or lab report.
Submissions on or after January 1, 2011. Starting January 1, 2011, products may no longer be submitted to EPA for qualification. New products and products with incomplete submissions must be certified by an EPA-recognized Certification Body (CB) before the product is labeled. For a list of EPA-recognized CBs by product category, visit www.energystar.gov/testingandverification. To date, EPA has recognized: the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), CSA International, Intertek, Keystone Certification, National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), NSF International, and Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.

Currently Qualified Products

In conjunction with the institution of third-party certification for all new ENERGY STAR qualified products, EPA has established a plan for addressing products previously qualified under the self-certification framework. As a general principle, the Agency recognizes the merits of addressing these products in conjunction with changes in ENERGY STAR performance requirements, since such changes trigger the need for broad re-testing anyway. For most ENERGY STAR product categories, specification changes are pending or anticipated in 2011 or early 2012. For these categories, no product model will be permitted to carry the ENERGY STAR label after the effective date of the specification change unless it is third-party certified.

For a small number of product categories, EPA is not anticipating near-term specification changes. For those product categories, EPA will require that manufacturers submit both new and existing products for verification testing through an EPA-recognized CB. EPA will work with the relevant CBs to institute this additional requirement for the following categories and expects partners to share needed data with CBs no later than March 31, 2011. As a note, EPA is working with both NFRC and CRRC, and is aware that manufacturers participating in AHRI's programs already participate in verification testing for all their products.
  • Commercial Steam Cookers
  • Commercial Refrigerators and Freezers
  • Commercial Griddles (Gas)
  • Central Air Conditioners & Air Source Heat Pumps
  • Geothermal Heat Pumps (Water-to-Water)
  • Light Commercial HVAC
  • Roof Products
  • Room Air Cleaners
  • Windows, Doors, Skylights
Products with Revised Product Specifications Taking Effect in 2011 or Early 2012

For products whose specifications will change in 2011 or early 2012, partners do not need to take any action to maintain the ENERGY STAR qualification status of previously-qualified models until the revised specification takes effect. When the revised specification becomes effective, EPA will remove all previously-qualified products from the ENERGY STAR Qualified Product (QP) list. Partners must ensure all products, including those previously qualified, are third-party certified through a CB. These certified results will be the source of the new QP list.

Example: The Version 6.0 ENERGY STAR Residential Clothes Washer Specification takes effect on January 1, 2011. On January 1, only products that have been third-party certified as meeting the Version 6.0 eligibility criteria will appear on EPA’s QP list. Partners are encouraged to take steps now to seek third-party certification for products that meet the Version 6.0 requirements. These certified results will be the source of the new QP list.

Example: The Version 2.0 ENERGY STAR Hot Food Holding Cabinet Specification will go into effect on July 1, 2011. To maintain the ENERGY STAR qualification status of previously-qualified products after July 1, products will need to be retested and certified by CBs. However, EPA will maintain the current QP list until July 1.

Example: The ENERGY STAR Room Air Cleaner Specification is not planned for revision. Therefore, if the manufacturer of a previously-qualified room air cleaner wishes to continue to market it as ENERGY STAR qualified, the manufacturing partner must form a relationship with an EPA-recognized CB and indicate that the model should be subject to verification testing.

Please note that to maintain the accuracy of all QP lists, it will be important that partners take action to review their list of previously-qualified products and contact EPA to remove products that are no longer available on the market.

Conference Call to Discuss Changes in Qualification Procedures

EPA will be hosting a conference call on Friday, November 12, 2010 from 1-2:30 PM US Eastern Time to share details of the enhanced testing and verification procedures with partners and to answer any outstanding implementation questions. To participate in this call, please RSVP by November 8, 2010 to ENERGYSTARVerificationProgram@energystar.gov.