On August 7, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Energy held a webinar to propose recognition criteria across product categories for the ENERGY STAR® Most Efficient 2020. As an extension of the ENERGY STAR brand, the Most Efficient label recognizes the most efficient products among those qualifying for ENERGY STAR in a given year. The Most Efficient label helps to guide environmentally conscious early adopters toward the most energy efficient products, spanning 14 product categories and 2811 models.
For 2020, new product categories include room air conditioners as well as compact refrigerators and freezers. Furthermore, there is increased collaboration with utilities in the form of joint promotions and retailer incentives. Piloted in 2016, the ENERGY STAR Retail Products Platform leverages the Most Efficient label for retailer incentives. The program strives for large-scale market participation, serving >30% of the U.S. population.
Regarding specific product categories, current criteria are largely maintained with some updates noted below:
With respect to appliances, current performance criteria for refrigerators are maintained for top-freezer product types (i.e. with ≥ 10% more efficiency than the federal minimum) and for side-by-side or bottom-freezer product types (i.e. with ≥ 20% more efficiency). For standard-size freezer product types, criteria are introduced corresponding to ≥ 15% more efficiency than the federal minimum. Similarly, criteria are introduced for compact refrigerators and refrigerator freezers, with requirements corresponding to ≥ 25% more efficiency. For compact freezers, introduced criteria correspond to ≥ 20% more efficiency. Reporting of the refrigerant type is optional. For clothes washers, current energy and water criteria are maintained. For dishwashers, current 2019 criteria for standard models are maintained, with annual energy use ≤ 240kWh/yr. For clothes dryers, current criteria are kept except for compact vent-less 240V product types, where the carve-out is now removed.
For HVAC, a new product category of room air conditioners has been added. Criteria for RAC units with a cooling capacity < 14,000 BTU/hr and those with ≥ 14,000 BTU/hr are 25% and 35% more efficiency than the federal standard, respectively. Also, the sound pressure level must be ≤ 45 db(A) for the lowest operational mode available. For ceiling fans, 2019 performance levels are generally maintained; for Low-Mount High Speed Small Diameter (HSSD) fans, however, the level is set at the same as that of the federal minimum, because these types use less energy vs. standard fans for the same application. For ventilation fans, criteria for bath/utility room and in-line fans are maintained. Generally, these consist of efficacy (cfm/W) requirements and sound level limits at high speed. For centrally ducted air conditioning, heat pumps, and furnaces, current performance criteria, variable capacity, and installed efficiency requirements remain the same. Products furthermore must demonstrate they meet system status and messaging criteria (e.g. set-up information, fault history, etc.). The former narrative guide, however, has been replaced by an HVAC product application to reduce stakeholder confusion. Boilers maintain current performance criteria. For dehumidifiers, performance criteria are still under development, as the EPA has delayed release until sufficient market data is available.
Regarding electronics, the total energy consumption (TEC) requirement for computer monitors has been tightened, although still structurally similar to the equations for 2019. The ETEC_MAX intercept “c” is slightly lower to differentiate the top 21% of models meeting Version 8.0 of the ENERGY STAR Displays specification. Televisions must be certified to Version 8.0 of the ENERGY STAR Televisions specification, and the On Mode Power must be less than or equal to the sum of the maximum allowable On Mode Power consumption and high resolution allowance.
Finally, for residential windows, current U-factor and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) criteria for four climate zones are maintained. The category has also been expanded to include sliding glass doors using the same recognition criteria.
The EPA is finalizing the 2020 criteria in August 2019, and products will be recognized as ENERGY STAR Most Efficient 2020 beginning January 1, 2020.
Webinar slides as well as drafts of the specific 2020 recognition criteria for covered products can be found at the following page: