The fastest growing sector of the electrical and electronic product test business is energy efficiency testing. This is no surprise, what with the ongoing depletion of known supplies of fossil fuels and its associated geo-political and cost implications, combined with the pollution and attendant climate change associated with energy consumption.

Here is an overview of some of the top product energy efficiency programs in major markets:

United States
In the U.S., ENERGY STAR – a voluntary program – is king.  As covered here before, effective December 31, 2010, all ENERGY STAR products were required to be certified by an EPA-recognized certification body, like MET Laboratories.  Today, there are more than 60 ENERGY STAR product categories, with 6 more in development. 

In May 2011, U.S. EPA debuted the Most Efficient of ENERGY STAR pilot program.  Today, there are more than 150 models from 16 manufacturers recognized as Most Efficient.  MET Labs learned at the ENERGY STAR Partner Meeting in Charlotte earlier this month that EPA is extending the Most Efficient pilot through 2012 with limited changes. 

In Canada, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) maintains the Energy Efficiency Regulations and Standards for Industry.  There are over 30 products regulated for energy efficiency in Canada.

Canada also participates in ENERGY STAR.

The EU utilizes three labeling schemes: Energy Labels, Ecolabels, and Ecodesign.

Energy labels are mandatory for all appliances placed on the EU market, and are specified in energy labelling Directive 2010/30/EU.  Energy labels display ranking of products according to their energy efficiency consumption on an A to G scale.  Once the majority of products reach class A, up to three classes (A+/A++/A+++) are added on top of class A.

Ecolabels are voluntary labels adopted by the European Commission on a product-by-product basis, and are specified in Ecolabel Regulation EC/66/2010. The Ecolabel, i.e. the flower logo, may be displayed if the product is among the most environmentally friendly in its sector.

Ecodesign requirements are applied on a product-by-product basis, and are specified in Ecodesign Directive EC/2009/125.  Ecodesign requirements are mandatory and must be met by all products placed on the EU market. They are based on an assessment of the impact of the product on the environment throughout its life-cycle, starting from the production stage, through to distribution and disposal.

Europe also participates in ENERGY STAR.

CB Scheme
During IECEE assessor training in Toronto earlier this month, two MET Labs CB Scheme assessors learned more details about IECEE’s new Energy Efficiency, Energy Performance and Energy Consumption Program (dubbed E3 Program). 

The IECEE Secretariat is now receiving applications from qualified labs for scope extension to operate in the IECEE E3 Program.

Certification within the E3 Program will provide a test report issued by a IECEE CBTL (Certification Body Testing Laboratory) and validated by a STR (Statement of Test Result) issued by an IECEE NCB (National Certification Body). The service can be used as a stand-alone service or as a combined safety and energy efficiency/performance service, upon request from the manufacturer, where both Test Reports are attached to the CB Test Certificate or the FCS (Full Certification Scheme) Certificate issued by the IECEE NCB.

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