What Makes a Product ENERGY STAR Certified?

Products must achieve high levels of energy efficiency set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in order to earn the ENERGY STAR label. Over 75 types of products can earn the label, in categories such as appliances, electronics, lighting, heating and cooling, and commercial products such as food service equipment. In order to receive certification, products must undergo a three-step process.

Step 1: Testing

Manufacturers must demonstrate that their product meets ENERGY STAR specifications by testing it through an EPA-recognized laboratory. In some cases, manufacturers must also demonstrate that there is no trade-off in performance in order to save energy. For example, LED light bulbs are tested for energy efficiency, but also to ensure that energy savings are delivered without compromising on brightness or quality of the light.

Step 2: Review

Product test results are reviewed by an EPA-recognized certification body. Certification bodies are impartial third-party organizations that assess whether a product conforms with program requirements and is eligible to earn the label. Certification bodies and laboratories must be accredited to international standards for their operations in order to become recognized by EPA.

Step 3: Testing, Again

Besides the initial testing and certification process that occurs before a product goes on the market, certified models in each category may be selected for additional “off-the-shelf” testing to ensure that the labeled products you purchase meet the ENERGY STAR requirements as expected. It’s a rigorous process, but a wide range of product manufacturers have demonstrated the integrity behind their energy savings claims. Right now, 70,000 different product models are able to call themselves ENERGY STAR certified. The ENERGY STAR Product Finder lists the products that have earned the label.

Author: Brian Krausz