In late 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized its first-ever ENERGY STAR specification for laboratory-grade refrigerators and freezers. These products, typically sold to laboratories and a wide range of medical facilities, are designed to contain chemicals or biological specimens at stable, low temperatures. Expanding into this category will help reduce medical facilities’ costly energy bills and is consistent with the ENERGY STAR program’s goal of protecting the environment by advancing energy efficiency in a growing number of industries.
The ENERGY STAR criteria will recognize the top energy performing products used specifically for storing non-volatile reagents and biological specimens in laboratory settings, including hospitals, clinics, university and government research laboratories, and pharmaceutical manufacturing plants. The label will appear on certified models across a range of product types and sizes, allowing customers to identify efficient products right-sized and properly controlled for their sample needs. ENERGY STAR certification also makes it much easier for facilities to specify efficient products in procurement standards.
“EPA is excited to help the medical community reduce their high energy costs by highlighting for them more efficient refrigeration products and to recognize leading manufacturers eager to design their products with the latest efficient technologies,” said Ann Bailey, branch chief of the ENERGY STAR Products Program.
The specification will raise market awareness and adoption of more energy efficient products and encourage continued efficiency improvements through use of tested techniques. Significant savings are possible through the use of existing technologies. These include auto-off lighting combined with the use of LED lights; energy efficient low-E glass used in glass door refrigerators; more efficient cooling compressors; more advanced microprocessor temperature control and defrost sensors; more efficient high-capacity air circulation systems, as well as hot gas defrost solutions; and low global warming potential, energy efficient alternative refrigerant options.
Coming later this spring, manufacturers will also be able to certify ultra-low temperature freezers. Ultra-low products can maintain samples at temperatures as low as -70 and -80 degrees Celsius. Once available, ENERGY STAR certified ultra-low temperature freezers will help laboratories become greener while keeping their critical samples properly cooled.
To earn the ENERGY STAR label, products must be certified by an EPA-recognized third party, based on testing in an EPA-recognized laboratory. In addition, manufacturers of the products must participate in verification testing programs run by recognized certification bodies.
ENERGY STAR is the simple choice for energy efficiency. For nearly 25 years, people across America have looked to EPA’s ENERGY STAR program for guidance on how to save energy, save money, and protect the environment. Behind each blue label is a product, building, or home that is independently certified to use less energy and cause fewer of the emissions that contribute to climate change. Today, ENERGY STAR is the most widely recognized symbol for energy efficiency in the world. Since 1992, ENERGY STAR has helped families and businesses save $362 billion on utility bills, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2.4 billion metric tons. Join the millions who are already making a difference at energystar.gov.
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