ENERGY STAR

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 Dianna.Miller@nrcan-rncan.gc.ca.  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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Luminaires Manufacturers Get New ENERGY STAR Certification Resources

by on Jan.08, 2013, under ENERGY STAR

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has posted new materials that aid in the testing and certification of lighting products for ENERGY STAR:

Certifying Luminaires – Utilizing the Certified Subcomponent Database (CSD)
This document helps luminaire manufacturers select components for ENERGY STAR fixtures. Items listed on the CSD have already been tested for photometric, life and/or electrical performance at EPA-recognized laboratories.  Using the CSD can help reduce testing costs and time associated with the ENERGY STAR certification process for luminaires.

Certifying Luminaires – LED Light Engines and GU24 Base Lamps
This document helps explain the nuances and benefits of these two light sources and how to get these products listed on the CSD.  Using these products in lieu of built-in LED systems can help reduce engineering and testing costs, and time to market. EPA’s latest ENERGY STAR specification for Luminaires provides a straightforward pathway for qualifying fixtures with these products.

Certifying Luminaires – Maximizing Testing Investment
This document explains how testing costs can be minimized by utilizing allowable variations to group product together into a family. As an EPA-recognized certification body (CB), MET Laboratories can help determine the appropriate groupings. 

Time to Certification
This document visually shows the process to qualify a luminaire and also provides estimates for lifetime testing.

More resources can be found on EPA’s ENERGY STAR lighting webpage and on its Frequently Asked Questions page

For questions regarding testing and certification, contact MET Labs.

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ENERGY STAR Partner Meeting Discusses New Requirements for Lighting & Consumer Electronics

by on Nov.12, 2012, under ENERGY STAR

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ENERGY STAR Partner Meeting was a couple weeks ago in St. Paul, MN and MET Labs was there.  Following is a summary of key meeting discussions.

New Requirement for Dimmable CFLs and LEDs
The meeting agenda began with a roundtable, which was focused on dimmers.  EPA has encouraged consumers to transition to CFLs and LED bulbs to save energy, but their performance with dimmers has sometimes been less than optimal.  Some dimmers are exhibiting flickering, noise and limited dimming.  As a result, consumers are getting frustrated and switching back to incandescent bulbs.

The EPA is establishing a working group to introduce some basic requirements for all ENERGY STAR-labeled dimmable lamps/bulbs.  It will include requirements for:

  • Flickering
  • Dimmer level
  • Noise level

The test method is based on recommendations from NEMA and LRC (Lighting Research Center). The EPA is also considering a proposal to have building codes include dimmers for both CFLs and LED bulbs.

Lighting Certification Update
There are also updates on some new standards being developed for lighting certification, which are as follows:

  • LM-84: To measure lumen and color maintenance of LED lamps, light engines and luminaires
  • LM-85: To measure electric and photometric measurements for high power LEDs
  • TM-26: To project rated life for LED packages
  • TM-28: To project long term lumen maintenance of LED lights based on LM-84 data

Consumer Electronics Expansion
For consumer electronics, EPA intends to expand the product category in 2013 to include:

  • Small Network Equipment
  • Climate Control
  • IP Phones
  • Game Consoles

Specification Revisions
In 2013, there will be standard revisions for:

  • Set-Top Boxes
  • Battery Charging Systems
  • Televisions

Touch and voice activation functionality will also be evaluated to implement as a function of energy for products with such features.

See other ENERGY STAR testing updates from MET Labs.

Utilize MET for Energy Efficiency testing and/or certification.

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ENERGY STAR Most Efficient Program Made Permanent for 2013

by on Oct.09, 2012, under ENERGY STAR

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made the “Most Efficient” Program permanent for 2013.  This ENERGY STAR program identifying the most efficient products has been in pilot mode since being introduced in 2011.

In 2012, more than 1,400 qualifying models from over 50 manufacturers in 8 product categories were recognized as ENERGY STAR Most Efficient.

In 2013, EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) are proposing to add four new categories to the ENERGY STAR Most Efficient recognition program:

  • Ventilating fans
  • Ceiling fans
  • Computer monitors
  • Windows

Also for 2013, criteria for clothes washers and televisions are changed from 2012 in response to advances in the market. Further, EPA is proposing tailored requirements for ductless heating and cooling equipment recognizing different product applications than ducted products. For the remaining product types, 2012 recognition criteria have been maintained.

On September 27, EPA held a webinar to discuss the proposed 2013 recognition criteria.  Stakeholder comments are due to mostefficient@energystar.gov by October 12.  The 2013 criteria will be finalized by late October.

MET’s ENERGY STAR Program Manager will be at the 2012 ENERGY STAR Products Partner Meeting October 22–24, 2012 in St. Paul, Minnesota.  Send an email to info@metlabs.com to schedule to meet with him.

Find out more about Energy Efficiency Product Testing.

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