EPA Takes on ENERGY STAR® Program; Will Introduce Super Star Program to Complement ENERGY STAROctober 5th, 2009 by DWM Magazine
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy announced last week that they will begin working together, and, as part of this partnership, the ENERGY STAR program will now fall under the work of the EPA. In addition, as part of the announcement, the groups announced that EPA will be establishing a Super Star program as well.According to the announcement, products in the top 25 percent will qualify as ENERGY STAR and those in the top 5 percent will qualify as Super Star. Though the EPA and DOE currently have named the new program Super Star, they note that “the name and look of this higher tier will be developed through market research.”
EPA will handle the marketing, outreach, monitoring and verification, and setting the performance levels for the programs; however, the announcement notes that “performance levels will be set using established and consistent principles for the ENERGY STAR brand.”
The DOE will continue to support this program as well, “by increasing its efforts in monitoring and verifying test procedure compliance and the development of federal test procedures and metrics.”
The EPA will maintain the database of ENERGY STAR and Super Star products and test results, and will develop the list of new products to be added to the program.
With the partnership, a Governing Council will be formed. The Council will include the EPA assistant administrator for air and radiation and the DOE’s assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy. They will work together ensure that work programs between DOE and EPA are complementary and not duplicative, and will “leverage federal dollars to achieve maximum energy efficiency.” They also will hold meetings twice annually with program stakeholders, according to the announcement.
Ann Bailey, director of ENERGY STAR product labeling for the EPA, spoke with DWM magazine about the changes and advised that no staff will move from DOE to EPA, and that she was unsure of what title Rich Karney, who has been known as program manager for ENERGY STAR under DOE, will hold in the future-or his involvement with the program.
“I don’t know what his title will be going forward,” said Bailey. “There won’t be any shifts of staff between the EPA and the DOE.”
She added, “The EPA and DOE will be working very closely. I don’t know exactly how they intend to staff the program.”
Karney was not available for comment at press time.
As for the door, window and skylight criteria and the impending criteria changes, she said EPA currently has no plans to change this.
“We have no immediate plans to change the criteria,” Bailey said. “As part of the transition we’ll be looking at all of the specifications and making sure they remain consistent with our ENERGY STAR principles.”
She also addressed the reason for the move.
“We’ve been looking for ways to clarify the roles and responsibilities between the two agencies and with the new political management it was a high priority for the success of the program,” added Bailey.
Just a few days after that EPA announcement, an Energy Efficiency Town Hall Forum was held during GlassBuild America in Atlanta. The ENERGY STAR changes were a popular topic during the seminar, sponsored by Edgetech IG.
Edgetech’s Tracy Rogers advised that the timeline for looking at Phase II criteria is now unknown in light of the agency changes.
“These changes will not affect 2010 Energy Star changes,” says Rogers, “but there were discussions concerning Phase II during the seminar. The DOE was set to look at phase two this month, but this timeline is now unknown.”
Brandon Tinianov, Ph.D., chief technology officer for Serious Materials in Sunnyvale, Calif., spoke during the forum as well, and following the seminar, advised DWM magazine he’s excited about the new tiered system-but has mixed feelings about the move.
“As an industry professional I have really mixed feelings about the announcement,” said Tinianov. “I’m excited about the class for an ENERGY STAR and an Energy Super Star and in talking to some of my industry peers that seems to be the consensus.”
Still, he said, the idea of working with new representatives on a program like this one could have its drawbacks.
” … We’re very familiar with the players at the DOE,” said Tinianov. “They’ve worked with the window manufacturers and the housing manufacturers and everybody for decades … and there’s a lot of expertise there and that’s one of the areas of concern that I think everybody has expressed or felt and that is there’s no building experts at the EPA. I’m not even specifically referring to the window experts-there [are] just no building experts and building scientists.”
CLICK HERE for full text of announcement from the EPA and DOE.