In early May, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it had reviewed stakeholder comments on a pilot program designed to “identify and advance” products whose energy efficiency is, as the EPA puts it, “top tier.” Called Energy Star “Most Efficient,” the program focuses on seven product categories in what are, at the moment, a limited number of configurations and sizes: clothes washers, air-source heat pumps, central air conditioners, furnaces, geothermal heat pumps, refrigerator-freezers, and televisions.
The driving concept, the agency says, is to recognize products whose energy efficiency “is truly exceptional, inspirational, or leading edge.” One EPA official said qualifying products likely would be among the top 5% in terms of performance in their category. Perhaps best of all, as noted in a recent Environmental Building News post, top-tier qualifications are moving targets: the baseline criteria for “Most Efficient” performance will increase in stringency as manufacturers develop better-performing products.
Evaluating the pilot
The EPA says it will accept product submissions for “Most Efficient” recognition, based on 2011 criteria, through November 30 (see the accompanying chart, or click here to visit the Energy Star “Most Efficient” website). Energy Star partners in good standing are eligible to apply, although their products’ performance must first be certified by an EPA-recognized organization and their size and configuration must meet 2011 “Most Efficient” criteria. “Most Efficient” recognition allows marketing of the designation on point-of-purchase material and websites, but does not include using the Energy Star “Most Efficient” label on the product itself, or on its packaging.
The EPA says it will evaluate the pilot to determine if the program should be continued and maybe even expanded to include other product categories, such as windows and lighting.
The chart above summarizes “Most Efficient” criteria, but for a more detailed explanation of Energy Star rating standards, click on the product categories below.
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