This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

March 24, 2010

DOE and EPA Announce New Steps to Strengthen the Energy Star Program

DOE and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) outlined on March 19 a series of steps to further strengthen the Energy Star program with expanded testing and enforcement. EPA and DOE have launched a new two-step process to expand the testing of Energy Star-qualified products. DOE began testing some of the most commonly used appliances, which account for more than 25% of a typical household's energy bill, and both agencies are now developing a system to test all products that earn the Energy Star label. The steps are part of an overall effort by the Obama Administration to improve the energy efficiency of homes and appliances to save families money.

Recently, DOE began tests on six of the most common product types: freezers, refrigerator-freezers, clothes washers, dishwashers, water heaters, and room air conditioners. The agency will examine approximately 200 basic models at third-party, independent test laboratories over the next few months. In addition, the EPA and DOE are developing an expanded system that will require all products seeking the Energy Star label to be tested in approved labs and will also require manufacturers to participate in an ongoing verification testing program that will ensure continued compliance. The agencies have taken a series of actions in recent months to ensure compliance with both Energy Star and DOE's appliance efficiency standards, including taking action against 35 manufacturers in the past four months. The Energy Star program helps consumers identify the products that are highly energy efficient and will save them money on utility costs, while DOE's minimum appliance efficiency standards set a baseline energy efficiency levels for appliances. See the DOE press release and the Energy Star Web site.