ENERGY STAR, a program of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Energy (DOE) to promote energy efficiency, has recognized the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST's) National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) as an accrediting body. This recognition enables NVLAP to accredit independent labs as having the technical capability necessary to test products to determine whether they meet ENERGY STAR requirements.
NVLAP accreditation will be a necessary first step for a laboratory's test data to be accepted under the enhanced ENERGY STAR program.
NVLAP already accredits laboratories that test for energy efficiency in lighting products, electromagnetic compatibility in telecommunications and other equipment, and the performance of thermal insulation products. NVLAP officials anticipate that many of these testing laboratories will be eligible for recognition under new EPA requirements.
The EPA introduced ENERGY STAR in 1992 as a voluntary labeling program to identify and promote energy-efficient products to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Beginning with computers and monitors, the ENERGY STAR label now includes more than 60 product categories, such as major appliances, office equipment, lighting, home electronics, and more. It is used by millions of Americans to identify efficient products and reduce energy costs—saving them an estimated $17 billion in 2009 alone. EPA has also extended the label to cover new homes and commercial and industrial buildings.
To ensure that ENERGY STAR remains a trusted symbol for environmental protection and superior energy efficiency, all businesses and other organizations seeking an ENERGY STAR label will be required to follow a new set of third-party certification procedures, starting Jan. 1, 2011. The enhanced program will require products testing and certification at an accredited laboratory, which necessitates evaluating laboratories for conformance with ENERGY STAR criteria.
Details of the program can be found on the ENERGY STAR website.
Visit NVLAP for more information about the accreditation program.