U.S. EPA Announces Criteria for ENERGY STAR Most Efficient 2016

by on Oct.12, 2015, under ENERGY STAR

energy-star-appliancesThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced final recognition criteria for ENERGY STAR Most Efficient 2016.

The ENERGY STAR Most Efficient designation is eligible in 12 product categories:

  • Air Source Heat Pumps and Central Air Conditioners
  • Boilers
  • Ceiling Fans
  • Clothes Washers
  • Dishwashers
  • Computer Monitors
  • Furnaces
  • Geothermal Heat Pumps
  • Refrigerator Freezers
  • Televisions
  • Ventilation Fans
  • Residential Windows

Products that meet the 2016 criteria will deliver significant savings over a conventional product as detailed here.  Final criteria for ENERGY STAR Most Efficient 2016 are summarized in this same PDF.

In addition to meeting these performance requirements, products must be certified as ENERGY STAR by an EPA-recognized certification body, like MET Laboratories.

The ENERGY STAR Most Efficient designation was created to recognize and advance the most efficient products among those that qualify for ENERGY STAR. The goal of this effort is to encourage new, more energy-efficient products into the market more quickly by targeting early adopters.

In addition to the EPA ENERGY STAR recognition and experience, MET performs a full range of energy efficiency testing for global markets, including NRCan, CEC, U.S. DoE, and EU CE marking.

Contact us for a fast and free energy efficiency testing quotation.


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ENERGY STAR Certification Program is Growing to Include LNE & Other Product Categories

by on Sep.30, 2015, under ENERGY STAR

LNEMET Labs was fortunate to have the opportunity recently to host U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ENERGY STAR Product Manager Verena Radulovic, who gave a talk on the ENERGY STAR Product Certification Scheme.

Here are a few key points from her presentation:

The ENERGY STAR program is a big success.  87% of households recognize the ENERGY STAR label.  And the reduction in the average power consumption of products in ENERGY STAR categories is significant (see the accompanying TV example).

About 6% of ENERGY STAR qualified products fail verification testing.  In 2014, 2,070 products were verification tested, and 122 products were disqualified.  The most common disqualifications were CFLs (33), luminaires (30), and ventilating fans (23).

The ENERGY STAR program is growing.  New product categories being introduced in 2015 and 2016 include:

  • Commercial coffee makers
  • Large network equipment (LNE)
  • Lab-grade refrigerators
  • Medical imaging
  • Electric vehicle supply equipment
  • Medium voltage distribution transformers

MET is hosting a complimentary Large Network Equipment Talk & Reception in Santa Clara, California next week.  If you or a colleague are interested in learning about new testing requirements for LNE and similar equipment, register for free here.

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External Power Supplies Must Meet Level VI Energy Efficiency Requirements for U.S. DoE by February 2016

by on Aug.11, 2015, under ENERGY STAR

Tdt100-che global regulatory environment for external power supply energy efficiency has rapidly evolved over the past decade since the California Energy Commission (CEC) implemented the first mandatory standard in 2004.  Now, external power supplies sold in the U.S. must meet updated and expanded U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) Level VI Energy Efficiency requirements by February 10, 2016.

The new DoE standard mandates more stringent energy efficiency levels for a greater number of external power supply types.  The DoE estimates that these requirements will save consumers up to $3.8 billion and cut emissions by nearly 47 million metric tons of carbon dioxide over 30 years, equivalent to the annual electricity use of 6.5 million homes.

In the early 1990s, it was estimated that there were more than one billion external power supplies active in the U.S. alone. The efficiency of these power supplies could be as low as 50% and still draw power when the application was turned off or unconnected (a “no-load” condition). Experts calculated that without efforts to increase efficiencies and reduce no-load power consumption, external power supplies would account for around 30% of total energy consumption in less than 20 years.

Global Requirements
While many countries still have voluntary programs harmonized to the international efficiency marking protocol system first established by the ENERGY STAR Program, the U.S., Canada, and European Union now have mandatory energy efficiency regulations in place for external power supplies.

Today, Level V will meet or exceed the requirements of any governing body around the globe. Power supply manufacturers indicate compliance by placing a Roman Numeral V on the power supply label as specified by the International Efficiency Marking Protocol for External Power Supplies Version 3.0, updated in September 2013.

Performance Specs
The internationally approved test method for determining efficiency has been published by the IEC as AS/NZS 4665 Part 1 and Part 2. The approach taken to establish an efficiency level is to measure the input and output power at 4 defined points: 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% of rated power output. Data for all 4 points are separately reported as well as an arithmetic average active efficiency across all 4 points.

Level VI
Power supply manufactures are already preparing for the coming transition in February 2016 to the more stringent Level VI standards. Along with tightened regulations for existing adapters, the new standard expands the range of products that fall under the standard to now include:

  • Multiple-voltage external power supplies
  • Products with power levels >250 watts

Direct Vs Indirect Operation
The new standard also defines power supplies as direct or indirect operation products. A direct operation product functions without the assistance of a battery. An indirect operation supply is not a battery charger but cannot operate the end product without the assistance of a battery. The new standard only applies to direct operation external power supplies. Indirect operation models will still be governed by the limits as defined by EISA2007.

The Level VI mandate also includes these exemptions:

  • A device that requires Federal Food and Drug Administration AS/NZS 4665 listing and approval as a medical device in accordance with section 360c of title 21


  • A direct operation, AC-DC supply with output voltage less than 3 volts and output current ≥1,000 milliamps that charges the battery of a product that is fully or primarily motor-operated.

Legacy Products
The DoE Level VI requirement date is February 10, 2016, but it is important to note that compliance with the new standard will be regulated from the date of manufacture, so legacy products can still be shipped as long as the manufacture date is prior to the transition date.  Labeling requirements will be required to meet the same International Efficiency Marking Protocol for External Power Supplies Version 3.0 as the current Level V standard.

Looking Forward
Globally, it is expected that other nations will soon follow suit with this standard.  In the EU, the mandatory European Ecodesign Directive for external power supplies is currently undergoing revision discussions and it is expected to harmonize with most, if not all, of the U.S. standards.  Countries with existing efficiency regulations in line with the U.S., including Canada and Australia, are expected to harmonize with the new standard as well.

MET Labs is geared up to provide independent test reports to verify your compliance with the new Level VI standard for external power supplies.  Contact us for a free quote today.

In addition to testing for the Department of Energy, MET is your one-stop-shop for energy efficiency testing and certification for ENERGY STAR, EU Ecodesign Directive, Natural Resources Canada, and the California Energy Commission.

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Marijuana Farms Skirt Laws – EMC & Product Safety Laws, That Is

by on Apr.20, 2015, under EMC, ENERGY STAR, Product Safety

grow3According to a recent article by a San Francisco-area police officer, indoor marijuana grows are proliferating and many of them are illegal.  Due to their frequent use of uncertified equipment that is manufactured overseas with little to no regulatory oversight, there has been a significant amount of radio frequency interference (RFI) that leaves these operations vulnerable to discovery.

To grow marijuana indoors, you need supplemental lighting necessary for photosynthesis. These lights may be fluorescent, LED, and for larger operations, high pressure sodium (HPS) or metal halide (MH).  The HPS and MH lamps may be 1,000W per lamp and require a ballast for proper operation.  These ballasts were originally magnetic but in the past few years have become electronic.  These devices are subject to FCC Part 18 rules, but many have not undergone FCC testing and certification.

Because of this, the lighting equipment is causing electromagnetic interference (EMI) with nearby electronics. As an example, one grow next to a CalFire station — California’s state fire agency — caused a continuous hum over the station’s callbox speaker and interfered with radio broadcasts over their station’s PA.

Many ham radio operators can locate a grow simply by taking a radio and portable antennae out into their neighborhood and using the radio to triangulate the exact location of the operation.  One amateur radio operator located five marijuana grows near his house due to RFI alone!

We can’t help illegal pot growers.  On the other hand, legal U.S. indoor marijuana farms should verify that grow equipment has:

Are you a grower with uncertified equipment?  Contact us for a quick and easy field evaluation.

Are you a marijuana industry electrical product manufacturer who wants to exploit the growing legalization of pot?   Contact us today to discover what regulations apply to your product.

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ENERGY STAR Certification for Computers Now to Version 6.1

by on Oct.06, 2014, under ENERGY STAR

Now Eligible for ENERGY STAR Certification

As of September 10th, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR Version 6.1 requirements took effect. This newer version expands the scope of the computers program to include two new product types and a subtype of Notebook Computers. EPA chose to add Slates/Tablets, and Portable All-In-One computers to their product list and a Two-In-One Notebook subtype. Power management and energy efficiency criteria have also been added to the two new product types.

Note to manufacturers:  These changes to the ENERGY STAR scope do not have an effect on previously certified products.

MET Labs is an EPA-recognized lab and/or certification body for 15 ENERGY STAR product categories.  Get a free quote now to evaluate your product to Version 6.1 or any other energy efficiency standard.

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ENERGY STAR Certification of Set-Top Boxes Now to Version 4.1

by on Aug.04, 2014, under ENERGY STAR

As of August 1, 2014, EPA ENERGY STAR Certification Bodies – including MET Labs – are only certifying set-top boxes (STBs) and cable boxes to the new Version 4.1 specification.

No new certifications to Version 3.0 are allowable, although existing Version 3.0 certifications will remain valid for the purposes of ENERGY STAR qualification until December 19, 2014.  At that time, any product shipped with an ENERGY STAR label must meet Version 4.1 requirements.

The 4.1 specification covers the full suite of cable, satellite, internet protocol (IP), terrestrial, and over-the-top STBs and keeps pace with a quickly evolving market by adding requirements for displayless gateways as well as enhanced functionality like high efficiency video processing (HEVP) and ultra high definition (UltraHD) content transmission, both of which support transmission of richer content.

The 4.1 specification also adopts the EPA’s approach to incentivizing energy saving multi-room configurations and deep sleep and establishes a test method for ENERGY STAR that harmonizes with the Voluntary Agreement for Ongoing Improvement to the Energy Efficiency of Set-top Boxes (VA).

Note: The new spec says STBs must be tested under worst case in terms of configurations and service provider networks. ENERGY STAR Partners may certify STBs that cannot meet the ENERGY STAR requirements in some configurations or on some networks if they assign a unique model identifier to the STBs that do meet them.

MET Labs is an EPA-recognized lab and certification body for 15 ENERGY STAR product categories.  Get a free quote now to evaluate your product to the STB 4.1 specification or any other energy efficiency standard, including the Version 6.0 ENERGY STAR specification for computers.

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ENERGY STAR Certification for Computers Now to Version 6.0

by on Jan.20, 2014, under ENERGY STAR

Effective last week (January 15, 2014), ENERGY STAR Certification Body (CB) MET Laboratories will no longer certify new products to the Version 5.2 Computer Specification for ENERGY STAR, per U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements.  V5.2 remains effective until June 2, 2014, when Version 6.0 will become effective. 

The Computer specification includes the following product types:

  • Desktop Computers
  • Notebook Computers
  • Workstations
  • Small-Scale Servers for non-data center use
  • Thin Clients

EPA is evaluating the inclusion of portable computers with detachable keyboards or with no keyboards (Slates/Tablets) in the computer specification. These products are excluded from the scope of Version 6.0, but EPA’s goal is to develop acceptable definitions to allow them to be included in a Version 6.1 specification.

The V6.0 specification updates the long-standing ENERGY STAR program for computers in several ways, including:

  • Incorporating long and short idle state power in TEC (Typical Energy Consumption) calculation
  • Revising the category system, and treatment of integrated displays and graphics for notebooks, desktops, integrated desktops, and thin clients to better reflect the characteristics that influence energy consumption
  • Adding new incentives for energy-saving features such as Energy Efficient Ethernet, Switchable graphics, and power supplies that retain high efficiency at low load

Note to previously-certified manufacturers: When a specification is revised, manufacturers need to have existing models certified to the new specification.  Due to the changes in test methods and TEC calculations in the new specification, CBs will not be able to use existing test data to re-certify existing models. All previously certified models to version 5.2 will have to be retested and certified to the new specification by June 2, 2014 in order remain on the Qualified Product List (QPL). To avoid delays and administrative burdens associated with retesting and certification, EPA encourages manufacturers to work with CBs to have their products certified to the new specification during the early certification period.

MET Labs is an EPA-approved lab and certification body for 15 product categoriesGet a quote now to evaluate your product to Version 6.0.

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ENERGY STAR Certification of Data Center Storage Equipment Begins

by on Nov.05, 2013, under ENERGY STAR

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized Version 1.0 of the ENERGY STAR Data Center Storage Specification and the ENERGY STAR Data Center Storage Test Method.

According to EPA, datacenters are estimated to be more than 2% of total U.S. electricity consumption, so more energy efficient data center storage equipment will help data center owners and operators save significant money on their energy bills.

The ENERGY STAR Data Center Storage specification enhances the suite of ENERGY STAR datacenter equipment specifications, which currently includes Computer Server and Uninterruptible Power Supply specifications.

This specification:

  • Introduces an approach to product families that allows both homogenous and heterogeneous storage device configurations to be certified
  • Includes requirements focused on power supplies, capacity optimizing methods, and standard performance data measurement and output
  • Allows for variations within product families to incorporate newer storage devices and other system improvements over the life of the storage product

The V1.0 Specification requires all products to test and submit data using the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) Emerald Power Efficiency Measurement Specification V2.0.2.

The effective date of the V1.0 Data Center Storage Specification is December 2, 2013, but MET Labs is already an EPA-recognized certification body (CB) for this category and is in advanced stages of the test lab recognition process with EPA.

Selling to the U.S. government?  Did you know federal agencies are required to purchase ENERGY STAR qualified products

See all of MET’s energy efficiency testing and certification capabilities.

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ENERGY STAR Certification of Enterprise Servers to Version 2 Has Begun

by on Jun.12, 2013, under ENERGY STAR

For certification of enterprise servers, ENERGY STAR is transitioning from specification version 1.1 to 2.0.  Version 2.0 is not officially effective until December 16, 2013, but manufacturers may already have products certified to it.   As of August 31, 2013, Certification Bodies like MET Labs will no longer certify new products to version 1.1.

Here are the top 3 changes in Servers V. 2.0:

  • Server Efficiency Rating Tool (SERT) is now a mandatory requirement
  • Longer idle state testing
  • Blade Systems (including Blade Servers and Blade Chassis) and  Multi-Node Servers are now eligible for certification

Selling to the U.S. government?  Did you know federal agencies are required to purchase ENERGY STAR qualified products

Located in Europe?  Attend this ENERGY STAR webinar that is targeted to EU manufacturers.

See all of MET’s energy efficiency testing and certification capabilities.

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NRCan Proposes Decoupling ENERGY STAR Specs from its Energy Efficiency Regulations

by on Feb.19, 2013, under Canada, ENERGY STAR

Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan) ENERGY STAR Initiative is considering significant changes in how products manufactured and/or sold in Canada are qualified and listed. 

NRCan proposes to de-couple Canada’s ENERGY STAR technical specifications from its Energy Efficiency Regulations.  NRCan intends to use the ENERGY STAR technical specification published by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exclusively for ALL product categories (except fenestration products).  A one month commentary period revealed that the harmonization of technical specifications with the EPA was not an issue for the majority of Canadian manufacturers.

This change, however, will result in other changes:  using the EPA’s specification could result in manufacturers using test procedures which, at any given time, may not be identical to those used for Canada’s Energy Efficiency Regulations, for regulated products.  As such, NRCan will not be collecting data from manufacturers’ EERs to auto-qualify their products for ENERGY STAR designation.

Analysis by NRCan reveals that this decision will only impact a small subset of manufacturers who sell regulated products in Canada only – and for the most part, only for those product categories whose ENERGY STAR specification’s test procedure differs significantly from the one required in Canada’s Energy Efficiency Regulations.  These manufacturers may be required to pay for additional testing, in order to fulfill reporting obligations to both NRCan and the EPA.

Not changing: Canada’s Energy Efficiency Regulations stipulate that all prescribed energy-using products, imported or shipped inter-provincially for sale or lease in Canada, must bear an energy efficiency verification mark authorized by a certification body accredited by the Standards Council of Canada.  (See MET’s energy efficiency verification mark here).  The dealer of the energy-using product must ensure that an energy efficiency report is filed with NRCan for models available for sale or lease in Canada.

At the time that the ENERGY STAR Initiative was introduced into Canada in 2001, NRCan chose to set its own efficiency levels and testing procedures for some products subject to Canada’s Energy Efficiency Regulations, in order to harmonize them with those required for the Regulations.  As such, ENERGY STAR qualification was automatically given to products which met the higher efficiency level required by the Canadian ENERGY STAR specification (harmonized with NRCan’s Regulations).  Manufacturers wishing to designate products as ENERGY STAR qualified simply filled out voluntary fields in their EERs, and if their product met the specified level set by a database filter, they were listed as such.

Since that time, the number of product categories eligible for ENERGY STAR recognition has doubled, the frequency of technical specification updates or revisions has doubled, and NRCan has found that the efficiency levels of ENERGY STAR specifications in Canada and the United States are identical, regardless of the units of measure or the test procedures specified.

Products for sale or lease in Canada that are not subject to Energy Efficiency Regulations have always followed the EPA’s certification process in order to achieve ENERGY STAR qualification: 

  • Manufacturers must submit their product for testing to an EPA-approved laboratory
  • Testing results must be validated by an EPA-approved Certification Body (CB)
  • The CB must seek ENERGY STAR designation on behalf of manufacturers whose products they have validated as meeting the EPA’s specifications for ENERGY STAR qualification
  • The product is recognized by the EPA and listed on their Web site

Moving forward, NRCan proposes that the above steps apply to all products which are currently eligible for ENERGY STAR designation in Canada, with the exception of fenestration products and HRVs.  This means that EPA-recognized Certification Bodies must submit data to the EPA on behalf of their clients, for all products that manufacturers wish to be recognized as ENERGY STAR qualified.  It also means that in order to do so, the data must come from an EPA-certified lab.

Comments and questions should be sent to NRCan’s ENERGY STAR Chief Dianna Miller at  Include “ENERGY STAR Canada proposed changes” in your subject line.

MET Labs is an EPA-approved lab and certification bodyGet a quote now.

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