The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) are taking steps to strengthen the Energy Star program. Third-party testing already is underway and now the EPA and DOE have launched a two-step process to expand testing of Energy Star-qualified products. The DOE has announced it will begin testing some of the most commonly used residential appliances, and both agencies are developing a system to test all products earning Energy Star labels.

“Energy efficiency is more important than ever to American families,” saysGina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “As our economy gets back on its feet, Energy Star is an easy way for consumers to save money and help fight climate change.”  

In the first phase of testing, the DOE is examining freezers, refrigerator-freezers, clothes washers, dishwashers, water heaters, and room air conditioners. More than 200 basic models are expected to be tested by third-party laboratories over the next few months. As testing expands, all manufacturers producing Energy Star-labeled products will be required to participate in an ongoing verification testing program that is now being developed.

Currently, when a violation is found, the right to use the Energy Star label will continue to be revoked, and corrective measures are required. In addition, the Energy Star partnership may be terminated. More than 40,000 individual products currently carry the Energy Star label and violation rates are low. In 2009, a "spot check" of 60 Energy Star products found 59 of the 60 products met or exceeded Energy Star requirements.

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