More Details Emerge Concerning ENERGY STAR® Move to EPA

October 15th, 2009 by DWM Magazine

Many in the industry are still speculating as to what changes will take place after the announcement a few weeks ago that the ENERGY STAR program will now fall under the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (CLICK HERE for that story). A few more details have emerged regarding the change.

DWM magazine has obtained a copy of a Memorandum of Understanding on Improving the Energy Efficiency of Products and Building Between the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. The document was signed by the DOE’s Cathy Zoi and the EPA’s Gina McCarthy on September 30 and outlines the purpose of the change, goals, and other items. (The document does cover the ENERGY STAR program, as a whole, not the windows program directly).

According to the document, the scope is that the EPA and the DOE will coordinate to expand and enhance the ENERGY STAR program and the National Building Rating Program. The ENERGY STAR label will identify top performing, cost-effective products, homes, and buildings. The National Building Rating program will provide efficiency ratings and assessments of cost-effective improvements for homes and buildings. The DOE will be the lead agency on the National Building Rating program and EPA will be the lead agency on the ENERGY STAR program.

Regarding roles and responsibilities, the EPA will manage the ENERGY STAR products program and the new Super Star program, in consultation with DOE. EPA will also maintain product testing results data with support from DOE as agreed to by the agencies. DOE will lead the development of product testing procedures and metrics with EPA assisting where necessary.

The performance levels for ENERGY STAR for products will be set by EPA, with technical support provided by DOE, including technology analyses to help inform appropriate performance levels and program monitoring.
Regarding the National Building Rating Program, it will be enhanced in the following ways:

1) A comprehensive whole building scale-based rating tool will be developed and promoted that reflects both the physical characteristics of a building (asset rating) and a way to compare the actual energy use of existing buildings with similar buildings.

2) A labeling scheme will be developed to easily convey the energy use information from the whole building scale-based rating tool.

3) The whole building scale-based rating tool will take account of the inherent building envelope, major energy-using equipment and appliances, and past performance based on utility bills.

4) The whole building scale-based rating tool will be updated periodically to reflect improvements in building technology and analytical tools, and to enhance usability.

5) The eligibility of buildings for the ENERGY STAR logo as applied to buildings will be based on the rating systems of the National Building Rating Program.

6) The criteria for the ENERGY STAR logo will be updated periodically to reflect improvements in building energy efficiency, diagnostic capability, and market appetite for energy efficiency, and will be based on established program principles for the ENERGY STAR brand.

The ENERGY STAR program will be enhanced in the following ways, according to the document.

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• Up-to-date and more stringent specifications. Measures (as appropriate for the different types of products covered in the program) will be implemented, in accordance with applicable procedures for stakeholder notice and comments and international agreements, to ensure that ENERGY STAR specifications are tightened as necessary for ENERGY STAR to consistently represent top performing products.

• Product shipment data for ENERGY STAR qualifying products will be collected from manufacturers and analyzed on an annual basis to determine which specifications warrant updating.

• For product categories with longer-lived product models (e.g. heating and cooling, home appliances), specifications will be reviewed for a possible revision at a minimum of every three years or once the market share for ENERGY STAR qualifying products reaches about 35 percent.

Additionally, the most energy efficient buildings, based on the rating systems of the National Building Rating Program, may be eligible to be recognized with the ENERGY STAR logo. The criteria for the ENERGY STAR logo will be updated periodically to reflect improvements in building energy efficiency and based on established program principles for the ENERGY STAR brand.

Additionally, the document states that the DOE will collect information on all commercial buildings receiving energy-efficiency retrofit funding under SEP and EECBG Program and residential buildings receiving weatherization assistance under the WAP program, including energy consumption data and basic building information.



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