The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced this week that it’s re-examining Energy Star’s guidelines and procedures for its specification-setting process.

In a letter to stakeholders from Ann Bailey, the branch chief for Energy Star products, she said EPA has identified a number of potential improvements. The agency is inviting stakeholders to provide insights on these or other areas where program refinement would be beneficial.

The agency has drafted a standard operating procedure (SOP) for the Energy Star specification setting-process. This includes minimum comment periods, as documented in the SOP.

EPA also wants to share data more consistently across all product categories, among other issues.

The SOP outlined in Bailey’s letter includes 11 steps, beginning with the development of a specification framework. From there, a test procedure must be developed, then performance data is analyzed. After that, specification drafts are produced. Next, interim proposals are discussed through feedback from stakeholder letters or in face-to-face meetings.

When that’s complete, final drafts are issued, and a public comment period begins. For framework documents and draft proposals, the period will be at least  four weeks. For interim decision memos and for final draft specifications, it will be at least two weeks.

For products that are subject to federal minimum efficiency standards, EPA references the federal test method. For those products, Department of Energy (DOE) definitions take precedent for Energy Star purposes.

With respect to performance data, EPA leverages the data submitted to DOE that demonstrates compliance with minimum efficiency standards rather than requesting the same data from manufacturers during the development of Energy Star specifications.

Once a specification is final, manufacturers may begin certifying products to the requirements through EPA-recognized certification bodies. EPA tracks the market reaction to the new requirements through the collection of Energy Star shipment data, and the agency will begin the next specifiation-revision process when the desired market advances have occurred or other factors, such as a change in minimum efficiency standards, prompt a reconsideration.

To read Bailey’s letter and an outline of the SOP, click here.

EPA invites stakeholders to provide insights on these or other additional areas where program refinement would be beneficial and EPA can improve transparency. Pleases share any feedback with EPA at by December 21, 2017.

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