Natural Resources Canada
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Office of Energy Efficiency Links


Business: Residential


Guiding Principles for Product Selection for ENERGY STAR®

The main purpose of the ENERGY STAR initiative in Canada is to develop harmonized technology specifications for harmonized markets.

Products must meet (where applicable) the requirements of Canada's Energy Efficiency Regulations and the requirements of provincial/territorial authorities.

Products are identified and qualifying criteria developed for ENERGY STAR using the following guiding principles:

There must be significant energy savings and greenhouse gas emission reductions that can be realized on a national basis.

To verify potential energy savings, the following factors are analysied:

  • Number of products sold nationwide and widespread availability
  • Market growth rates
  • Amount of energy used by product in different modes
  • Product's typical usage pattern
  • Amount of energy saved through application of different technologies, operating procedures, or design practices
  • Product lifetimes
  • Applicable standards/legislation
  • Extent to which potential energy savings may be impacted by installation practices or system interactions.
  • Sizeable energy saving nationwide
  • Look to create specification only where it is clear that the saving potential will translate into tangible energy saving when the product is used

Product performance must be maintained or enhanced with energy efficiency.

ENERGY STAR is found only on product with features and performance that consumers demand. To ensure product quality, features, and functionality are not compromised, the following factors may be examined:

  • Safety
  • Performance
  • Warranty
  • Size/capacity/fuel source
  • Speeds
  • Product sub-categories

Many energy-efficiency models are also high quality with a wide range of desired features

Sometimes, multiple specifications based on wide range of functions within a product category each requiring different amounts of energy. May also include particular performance-based criteria to ensure overall performance is maintained.

Purchasers will recover their investment in a reasonable period of time

Some energy efficiency products come at a price premium. Specifications are set so that if there is cost differential at the time of purchase, that cost is recovered through utility bill savings over a reasonable period of time.

Technology options for energy efficiency must be obtainable.

ENERGY STAR specifications cannot favour one manufacturer over all others Specifications are set so that energy efficiency criteria can be met through the use of several technology options at least one of which is non-proprietary by considering the following factors:

  • Number of companies
  • Availability, variety, and cost-competitiveness of energy saving technologies
  • Proprietary or exclusive nature of any technologies in use

Energy consumption of a product is able to be measured.

Choose energy performance descriptors for which an industry accepted test procedure exists and is in use by manufacturers.

Sources for test procedures:

  • CSA
  • IEC
  • ASTM
  • ANSI
  • Individual trade organizations

If no procedure exists, ENERGY STAR will work with manufacturers and others to develop an appropriate procedure. These procuedures must yield accurate and precise (repeatable) energy consumption values.

Labelling would effectively differentiate products.

Set specification that may be met by only the most efficient products. Typically the top 25% of models available when the specification is set

More extreme the spectrum of energy performance among models, the more potential energy savings from a specification.

If all product models used about the same amount of energy or performed the same an ENERGY STAR specification would not make sense.

Steps in developing an effective specification are as follows:

  • Step One – Market research and design analysis
  • Step Two – Energy and environmental analysis
  • Step Three – Specification development (in cooperation with stakeholders)