WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) have outlined a series of steps designed to strengthen the testing and enforcement of the Energy Star® program. In addition to third-party testing already underway, EPA and DOE have launched a new two-step process to expand testing of Energy Star-qualified products. DOE has begun testing of some of the most commonly used appliances, and both agencies are now developing a system to test all products that earn the Energy Star label. EPA and DOE have also stepped up enforcement efforts.

“Consumers have long trusted the Energy Star brand for products that will save them energy and save them money,” said Cathy Zoi, DOE assistant secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “The steps we’re taking now will further strengthen and improve the program, building on the results that consumers have come to expect.”

As part of the new testing program, DOE began tests on six of the most common product types: freezers, refrigerator-freezers, clothes washers, dishwashers, water heaters, and room air conditioners. DOE said these product types account for at least 25 percent of a typical homeowner’s energy bill. The department will test approximately 200 basic models at third-party, independent test laboratories over the next few months.

The EPA and DOE are also developing an expanded system that will require all products seeking the Energy Star label to be tested in approved labs and require manufacturers to participate in an ongoing verification testing program that will ensure continued compliance.

Regarding enforcement, EPA and DOE have initiated a series of measures in recent months to ensure compliance with both Energy Star and DOE’s appliance efficiency standards, including taking action against 35 manufacturers in the past four months.

Publication date:03/29/2010