Energy Star - Tough New Conservation & Efficiency Rules Now in Effect in the USA

March 20, 2014

Gerry Maven’s (Chair, Watercoolers Europe Standards & Technical Committee) comments on new Energy Star regulations coming into force in USA:

The environmental concerns as well as the cost of energy have all governments and businesses looking at how to reduce environmental impact as well as save energy.

The old Energy Star program in America, based on old analysis and technology, failed to address many of the key points desired in the original Energy Star mandate, especially in light of new conservation science and appliance innovation. Hence, the “second generation” Energy Star requirements now in effect, put in place after a lot of consultation with industry and scientists. Taking into account historical actions, it is highly probable that the European Union will follow the lead set by the USA authorities and introduce a European Energy Star equivalent.

This has occurred with the majority of large domestic appliances already. Does this mean WE and watercoolers are on the starting block or have already progressed towards compliance with such new rules? One assumes major suppliers have taken the global requirements into consideration when developing new systems - if they have not, they need to be directed to so as to avoid the EU creating an additional system or more stringent requirements, on the basis that they believe the industry is not self-regulating. If the industry has not already commenced to manage the environmental and energy aspects of small-scale refrigerated and heated water dispensing systems, then the EU authorities will have a vacuum in which to operate – always a risk.

The European market has been fairly innovative over the past few years and a great deal of investment has been made in new coolers which are improved in respect of energy use. However, the methods for measuring are not consistent, or in many cases, accredited by a third party testing facility. Energy use claims should be supportable with an industry-wide standard and methodology for testing.

So, this is an opportunity for the European Watercooler Association to take a lead creating a credible accreditation. - what we term in other associations a “voluntary code of practice” – showing responsibility which may well cause legislative authorities to later endorse this code as extensive enough, both suitable and statutory.

For this proposal to work, members and cooler manufacturers would need to propose methods of measurement which take into account not only the likely regulatory guidelines, but also the economics for the industry - a factor legislative authorities often overlook. 2014 should be the year that Standards & Technical Committee creates a new standard for Energy Conservation Measures in Equipment, or for Energy Star Compliance.

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