If you have been following the articles so far on Energy Efficiency you probably have a pretty good idea of why it is important that products meet the requirements and how the requirements in the US and Europe may be met. Energy use is a global concern and research into how to ensure that we use energy more efficiently is a continuous study with more requirements being added to legislations all the time.
In my previous article, I covered the role the DOE (Department of Energy) plays in the U.S. In the state of California however, where the Federal (DOE) requirements do not fully qualify efficiency limits or products are not federally regulated, the states own primary energy policy called the California Energy Commission or CEC comes into play. It is a mandatory requirement that products intended for sale or import to California, comply with the regulations outlined by the CEC.
There are several programs run by the CEC, but I will only cover appliances which are covered under the Appliance Efficiency Program. There are 23 categories of appliances included in the scope of the CEC which include requirements for battery chargers, televisions, external power supply, consumer audio and video equipment to name a few. Manufacturers must declare and certify the performance of their products to the Energy Commission in order to comply with this state law. The CEC also maintains a database of energy efficient products which is available for public viewing.
Products within the CEC scope being sold or offered for sale in California and not contained in the database face legal action by the Executive Director of the California Energy Commission. The Executive Director can take appropriate legal action to discourage and restrain the sale or offerings of these products on the market, as well as conduct testing of the units at the manufacturers cost and seek appropriate judicial action against the manufacturer.
Getting involved in any legal cross fire is a nightmare for any manufacturer, so how do you ensure that your product is in compliance with the CEC? Like most programs, certifying your appliance usually involves testing of its energy performance and submitting the data to the certifying body. It should be noted that submitting appliance efficiency data to the Energy commission is a very detailed process. There are currently 2 options available to manufacturers:
1. Direct Manufacturer Certification: Here the manufacturer makes the application directly to the CEC.
2. Alternatively, the manufacturer can opt to use Third-Party Certification: The third-party certifier submits the relevant data on behalf of the manufacturer. This option also has the advantage of being hassle free as the Third-party certifier performs all relevant tests and prepares the documentation for submission.
In both cases, the laboratory performing the testing either under Direct Manufacturer or Third-Party certifier program must be approved by the Energy Commission. Currently UL has 12 labs registered to perform such applications on behalf of manufacturers worldwide.