ENERGY STAR

ENERGY STAR Certification for Computers Now to Version 6.0

by admin 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 admin 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 admin 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 admin 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 admin 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 admin 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 admin 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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ENERGY STAR Certification to Combine CFLs and LEDs into Lamp Specification

by admin on Aug.29, 2012, under ENERGY STAR

As mentioned previously, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is combining the scope of the Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) and Integral LED Lamps specifications into one technology-neutral Lamps specification.

EPA held a webinar on August 8, 2012 to describe some of the requirements of this Lamps Draft 2 specification.     Following is a summary of some of the new electrical performance requirements. Please note that the following details are not finalized, but are provided for informative purposes to showcase draft details.

SIDE NOTE: EPA Program Manager for ENERGY STAR Eamon Monahan will be speaking at MET Labs’ Annual Global Product Compliance Seminar & Crab Feast in September.  He will be providing an update on the ENERGY STAR Program.  Register here. 

Start Time
Starting time is defined as the time between application of power to the device and the point where the light output reaches 98% of its initial plateau. 

Draft 2 of this specification adjusted the start time from 0.5 to 1 second. This was partially attributable to a conflict between decreasing the Start Time requirement while increasing the Rapid Cycle Stress Test requirement in Draft 1.

A start time test method was introduced in Annex D.

Run-Up Time
Run-Up time is defined as the time between the application of power to the device and the time when the light output first reaches a specified percentage of stable light output. This requirement is primarily based on the premise that the consumer expects quick response when using lamps.

Solid state products are now exempted from this requirement, while CFLs maintain the levels provided in Draft 1.   

A run-up time test method was introduced in Annex E.

Power Factor
Draft 1 had listed a power factor of 0.7 for all lamps >5W.  This has now changed as per lamp type.  Draft 2 power factors are now:

  • Residential CFLs ≥ 0.5
  • Commercial CFLs ≥ 0.9
  • Residential Solid State ≥ 0.7
  • Commercial Solid State ≥ 0.9

Dimming
For the dimming requirement of the specification, the EPA is currently waiting on additional stakeholder input in the areas of:

  • Dimming level
  • Flicker
  • Audible noise
  • Compatibility

Transient Protection
Draft 2 made two changes to this requirement:

  • There is now a new exemption for low voltage lamps
  • Lamp base orientation language was removed from testing guidance

Electromagnetic & Radio Frequency Interference
Since FCC compliance is already required by law, reference to FCC requirements was removed from the specification.

Lamp Toxics Reduction
IEC 62554 was added as the test procedure reference for documenting the mercury content found in the product.

Lamp Base and Shape
A requirement for Lamp Base Dimensions and Tolerances was deleted from Draft 1.  The requirement was considered redundant. Lamp base dimensions are already verified during electrical safety evaluation.

Lamp Shape Dimensional Requirements are now applicable to ANSI standard lamps only.

This new lighting specification and much more are sure to be discussed at the 2012 ENERGY STAR Products Partner Meeting for Lighting, Appliances, Water Heaters & Electronics being held from October 22–24, 2012 in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Find out how to get ENERGY STAR testing or certification body services or product safety certification for lighting.

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ENERGY STAR Merges Lighting Scopes into New Luminaires & Lamps Specifications

by admin on Apr.19, 2012, under ENERGY STAR

Although this year marks the 20th anniversary of the ENERGY STAR program, lighting was a bit late to the party.  It wasn’t until 15 years ago that residential light fixtures got their first ENERGY STAR specification, and 13 years ago that compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) did.

ENERGY STAR lighting continues to evolve.  Following are some updates.

Luminaires
The Luminaires Version 1.1 specification became effective April 1, 2012.  It combines the scope of the Solid-State Lighting (SSL) Version 1.3 specification and the Residential Light Fixtures Version 4.2 specification.

Only those light fixture models that have been third-party certified as meeting the Luminaires V1.1 requirements now appear on the ENERGY STAR qualified product list. Fixtures qualified under the previous specifications will not be “grandfathered in” to this new specification.

There are nearly 500 qualified luminaires from more than 50 manufacturers, covering over 20 different product types.

Lamps
The new ENERGY STAR Lamps V1.0 specification is still being developed.  This new specification will merge the scope of the Compact Fluorescent Lamps V4.3 and Integral LED Lamps V1.4 specifications into one technology-neutral specification. 

For draft 1 of the Lamps specification, EPA received 175 pages of comments. These comments are being considered for draft 2, which is anticipated in the next several months.

Certification Bodies
Using the new third party certification (3PC) process, in 2011 Certification Bodies like MET Labs certified 191 CFLs, 357 LED lamps, 166 luminaires, and 1,462 light strings.  In 2012, the number of lighting products certified is expected to be even higher.

According to EPA research, CB processing time ranges from 24 hours to two weeks, depending on a certification body’s work load and the completeness of a product submission.

Once a CB certifies a product meets an ENERGY STAR specification, it sends the data to EPA to be uploaded to the qualified products lists (QPLs).  Lists are currently updated weekly for bulbs and twice a month for fixtures (around the first and the middle of the month). By the end of 2012, all product lists should be updated on a daily basis.

Upcoming Events
The next ENERGY STAR products partner meeting is October 22–24, 2012 in St. Paul, Minnesota.  This is for lighting, as well as appliance and electronics partners and other stakeholders.

EPA Program Manager for ENERGY STAR Eamon Monahan will be speaking at MET Labs’ Annual Global Product Compliance Seminar & Crab Feast  in September.

Find out how to get ENERGY STAR testing or certification body services.

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E3 Energy Program and IEC 62368-1 Discussed by IECEE U.S. Committee

by admin on Mar.08, 2012, under ENERGY STAR, Product Safety

MET Labs participated in a meeting this week of the United States National Committee of the IECEE to discuss a number of issues. 

E3 Program
There was much discussion about the E3 Program (Energy Efficiency, Energy Performance & Energy Consumption), covered in Compliance Today previously.

The U.S. initially opposed the E3 Program because there is a lack of harmonization.  As it stands, there is no assured reciprocity and there is no certificate issued, just a Statement of Test Results (STR).  It is up to the reader of the STR to decide to accept or not.

IEC 62368-1
UL and CSA have recently published harmonized versions of IEC 62368-1. It will, however, likely be a long time before this becomes a NRTL standard due to OSHA’s workload and their likely objection to its inclusion of hazard-based analysis. Major labs will list to it, but if a product is going into the workplace, then 60950 or 60065 must still be used. 

Only the U.S., Sweden and Denmark have adopted 62368-1 in the Scheme per the CB website. Canada is to participate soon, as is France. The Netherlands may participate soon.

More about IEC 62368-1 is found in this Compliance Today post.

China EMC
China is not currently accepting EMC within the Scheme.  China’s objection may be that this was once voluntary and that the Scheme adopted EMC as mandatory and have not given China time to revise its standards.

Motors
At least one manufacturer thinks there is a need for motors to be in the safety CB Scheme.  The only place a motor standard is covered is within the EMC Scheme.  NEMA’s 1MG Section is continuing its conversation regarding the inclusion of electric motors as part of the E3 Program. 

Next meetings are May 22-23, 2012 in Vancouver, Canada, and August 7-8, 2012 in Orange County, California.

See a list of participating CB Scheme countries, and get a quote for CB Scheme testing.

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