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Earning an Energy Star Label

The Energy Star label is earned by products that meet the testing requirements set down by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency. The following text will take you through some of the processes associated with approving a product and ensuring it continues to provide savings to customers. The Energy Star label is specifically for assuring customers that they will receive savings with a product tagged with it. Therefore, the EPA and DoE want to ensure that the products are doing that so the consumer's faith is not shaken.

Initial Testing and Reporting

The initial phase of registration covers the assurance that the product is performing as required. Accurate reporting is done to ensure that the EPA has all available testing information on hand for the Energy Star rated product. This data is required to be drawn from a third-party, accredited laboratory from a product that represents the market equivalent. In other words, the manufacturers do not send a special unit. A random pick of the unit is tested at the third-party lab.

Verification and Continued Testing

The nature of technology's advancement means that today's products will not match yesterday's or tomorrow's. What is rated and meets the goals of today may not meet the energy goals of tomorrow or five years from tomorrow. Third-party, accredited laboratories are asked to continually verify that Energy Star released products meet the guidelines for acceptance. These continued checks on the objects that are produced allow consumers to shop with confidence that they are purchasing efficient products.

Losing an Energy Star Label

Losing an Energy Star label can actually occur for a couple of different reasons. Some may even be beyond the scope and capabilities of the respective manufacturer. When a product category gets too many Energy Star approved products in it; the government may change the qualifications to narrow the scope of approved products.

For example; you may purchase six Energy Star windows for a replacement project in your home to deal with a more immediate concern. A couple years later, you go back to purchase some more to finish the project and find that they are no longer considered Energy Star windows.

As a customer, your question should be the following;

Did the windows lose the rating due to poor performance or a tweak in minimum standards?

An increase in minimum standards does not necessarily indicate that there was something wrong with the Energy Star window or product in question. It just means that there were a lot of product offerings in a very broad span in that particular category. So the requirements were tightened to continue to show customers what the best choices were for energy efficiency. The old windows in the example would still be an efficient, quality model; there is just better options available on the market now.

If the product loses it due to performance, then it is time to have some concern over your windows that are currently installed. It is best to do some research to find out why the EPA decided to remove the Energy Star rating from the product. You may not be enjoying the kind of savings or energy efficiency you would normally associate with that type of purchase.

The Process of Qualification

The following section will introduce you to the general process of earning an Energy Star label for a product.

  • Step 1. Product must be tested in an EPA approved, accredited laboratory. The laboratory forwards the testing information to the EPA at the request of the manufacturer.
  • Step 2. The EPA reviews the product and findings in question. If it meets the requirements, it is then given the Energy Star rating and added to a product list of Energy Star compliant units.
  • Step 3. Manufacturer then labels the component. They are responsible for informing the EPA of any changes to the product that result in a change of energy efficiency.

The Process of Verification

The following section is an introduction to how quality is continually monitored so that you can be sure your product is efficient and saving you money.

  • Step 1. A product is selected by a third-party administrator approximately once or twice a year for testing. A quality control test may take place if the EPA feels it is warranted for a product in addition to standard testing.
  • Step 2. The manufacturer pays the third-party laboratory for independent testing of an off-the-shelf item or one pulled at random from the production line. This testing must be witnessed.
  • Step 3. The third-party administrator oversees the product testing and sends the results to the EPA.
  • Step 4. If the product fails, it is removed from the Energy Star product listing. Additional tests and studies are done to find out where the failure of the item or rating system occurred to prevent further breakdowns.

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